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Volume Seventeen 

April, 1938 

Number One 


Arms of the Flame Goddess „ By Francis James 

The shadow of the Penitentes — that strange and terrible cult of fire-worshipers — 
fitted my heart with dread. For I knew that soon the lovely body of my wife Would 
be a scorched and blackened sacrifice to their devils of desire. 


I Am the Beast By Gene Gary 

/( was the war that left my face scarred and fearful to look upon — but it was something 
else that turned me into a ravishing beast, jilted with the lust for murder. . . . 

Corpses on Parade By Edith and Ejler Jacobson 

From the doors of the exclusive Quadrangle Club they spewed forth— —those living 
corpses whose very presence filled the streets of Nezv York zvith the stench of the 
charnel house. But the fiend -who created them was not vet satisfied. . . . 

History's Gallery of Monsters By John Kobler 

IVilliam Stewart, who wrote in blood one of the darkest chapters in the annals of 
the sea. 


Chains of Dread Desire JBy Robert Howard Norton 

The kiss of Judas — from the lips of the girl he loved — plunged John Bartlett into a 
quagmire of horror where the ghosts of his ancestor's sins arose to destroy him! 

Express to Hell ~ By Julius Long 

Enden built his setting with the genius of the damned— and the mad gods laughed when 
his vengeance plan proved a deadly boomerang! 

Nymph of Damnation By William B. Rainey 

He wore on his face the mark of the devil's curse, and in his blood surged an endless 
hist — for the woman whose white body beckoned to him from beyond the pale of 
space. . . . 

Monster of His Making By Henry Treat Sperry 

While old Doctor Kennedy watched in hopeless agony, the inhuman fiend he had created 
prepared to plunge his knife deep into the straining white body of the only girl he loved! 

Disturb Not the Dead The Editors 

Of a mystery beyond all human understanding. 

The River Styx A Department 

Published erery month by Popular PuWIcjitioiis. '■,<•.. 2258 Grove Strepf. Chicago. Illinois. Editorial and executive 

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Disturb Not tKe Dead 

THE other day a friend whom we 
hadn't seen for years strolled into 
our office. He had just returned 
from India, and as he sat chatting with 
us, he dangled a small strangely shaped 
charm on the end of his watch chain — 
a woman's body with the head of a snake. 
When we remarked on it, he told us this 
story. , . . 

Some years ago in Bombay, he said, 
there lived an English family, Mr. and 
Mrs. Featherstone and their son John. 

One night they had as a dinner guest, 
Major Little John, of the Indian Army. 
He had with him this charm you see 
here. It was supposed to have the power 
of granting wishes — three wishes. 

When Mrs. Featherstone admired the 
bauble, Major Little John presented it to 
her, saying jokingly that she'd better be 
careful about making her wishes. 

But as the days went by, Mr. and Mrs. 
Featherstone found that their minds dwelt 
more and more on the powers of the little 
idol. Wouldn't it be wonderful, they 
thought, if it were really true. They 
amused themselves by discussing what 
they would wish, and finally they agreed 
that above all things, they wanted their 
son John to be made foreman of the iron 
plant — with the attendant raise in pay 
which would enable them to have so many 
more of the comforts of life. 

Finally Mr. Featherstone determined 
to try it. "What harm can it do?" he 
asked. "The thing won't work anyway." 
Nevertheless, he solemnly repeated the 
mystic incantation by which the charm 
was invoked, and asked that his wish be 
granted. They went to bed laughing at 
each other and promptly forgot the whole 

When later the next day, John called 
from the factory, bursting with pride in 
the fact that he had been made head fore- 
man, they were astounded and almost 
overcome with joy. And yet — they caught 
themselves looking at each other strange- 
ly — for each was thinking of the price 

Disturb Not the Dead 

they might be called upon to pay. 

At six o'clock, the telephone rang. For 
a few seconds the old couple stared at it, 
then Mr. Featherstone, almost against his 
will, lifted the receiver. 

His shocked look of horror told its own 
story. Their beloved son John had fallen 
into one of the iron presses and been in- 
stantly killed, his body horribly mutilated 
beyond recognition. 

One thought was in Mrs. Feather- 
stone's head. She rushed to the mantle- 
piece and caught up the evil charm. In a 
trembling fearful voice she took the sec- 
ond wish — she begged for the return of 
her son. 

The old couple sat before the door far 
into the night. Waiting, hoping — yet not 
daring to hope. And then — Mrs. Feather- 
stone, her ears sharpened by a mother's 
love, heard it first. A slow, dreadful, 
scraping noise — like a heavy body drearily 
inching its way along. Then they both 
heard the gasping breath and little whim- 
pering sighs of something — human or 
otherwise — in awful soul-rending agony ! 

They both leaped at the same time — 
Mrs. Featherstone to the door to fling it 
open — and Mr. Featherstone toward the 
mantlepiece — and Mr. Featherstone won. 
He clutched the little charm with shaking 
hands, and as fast as he could say the 
words, he prayed to the evil bauble to 
take back whatever it was that choked and 
groaned on their veranda. 

Mrs. Featherstone's hand jerked open 
the door, and she stared spell-bound into 
the blank empty darkness ! And yet, there 
was something — a single spot of blood! 

Abruptly our friend stopped his story 
and we asked how he got the charm. 

"I happened to be present when they 
pulled Mrs. Featherstone's body out of 
the river. This was in her hand." 

We couldn't repress a shudder, and we 
didn't feel comfortable until the charm 
and the old friend were out of the office 
— for good, we hope ! 




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Albert Mills, President 

B07I Monmouth Ave., Cincinnati, Ohio 

Arms or th< 

Nathalie's white body suddenly 
burst into consuming flame! How 
such a grisly thing cvuld have hap- 
pened I knew not. I knew only that 
the next victim to the bloody gods 
of these mad hellions was to be — 
the girl I loved! 


THE precursors of horror are 
sometimes strangely innocu- 
ous. Just a string of dancing 
dolls was the thing that brought the 
cold fire to kill five of our friends 
and send Helen behind madhouse 
bars. Paper dolls such as children scis- 
sor out of folded newspapers. . . . 
None of us had expected to meet death 

Flame Godd 


Mystery and Bizarre Horror in a 
Feature* Length Novel 

that day when we went out for a late 
afternoon stroll in the woods around 
Monmouth mountain. Just a summer 
day's jaunt — but it was an outing that 
was to lead us into the valley of hell ! 

After rambling for an hour or so, laugh- 
ing and chatting, the six of us came out 
of the trees on to the crest of a little 
knoll. And then, at the sight which sud- 
denly leaped at us, we came to a standstill 


Dime Mystery Magazine 

and I for one felt my very spine go cold. 

Fifty yards away a man stood with 
whips of thorns in his hands. Save for a 
dirty rag twisted about his loins, he was 
stark naked. He was lashing himself with 
the whips. The blows brought rivulets 
of blood trickling over his pipestem limbs 
and at each stroke he leaped high in the 
air. Foam spattered his face and his eyes 
blazed with a maniacal glare. 

He was muttering some unintelligible 
gibberish under his breath. What he 
seemed to be saying, in a hoarse, hysteri- 
cal croak, was : 

"Blood! Blood and fire to wash me 
from sin!'* 

It was a revolting spectacle. We had 
all heard that this remote region of moun- 
tain valleys was a hotbed of the Peni- 
tentes, a cult of self-torturers who had 
imported their weird beliefs from Mexico 
— religious fanatics who sought hope of 
forgiveness of sins through punishment 
of the body here upon earth. But this 
was the first evidence we had had that 
the tales contained an element of truth. 

We all stood spellbound an instant and 
then I broke away from the others. Anger 
at sight of such human beastliness needled 
me. I rushed up to him, gripped him by 
a naked, sweat-glistening shoulder and 
spun him around. 

"You fool!" I yelled. "What are you 

He whirled to snarl through bared 
teeth. He brought his thorn whip slashing 
across my face. As I stumbled away, he 
jerked from my clutch and went galloping 
into the bushes. 

The others came up and we all ran after 
him. There was no sane reason for this, 
for we knew the danger of meddling in 
the affairs of the clannish and hate-ridden 
folk of these valleys. It was some urge 
of horrified curiosity that sent us beating 
through the underbrush on his heels. 

A dip in the ground shut him from our 
view. A moment later we came into the 

open again at the edge of a little glade. 
We rushed a step forward and then froze 
in our tracks. Ed Bradshaw's voice came 
in gagged husking : 

"Great God, what is that?" 

T^HE man we had been chasing lay 
motionless on the ground in the midst 
of the grassy plot. He was dead. But as 
we stole forward, we knew that it wasn't 
the flogging that had killed him. He had 
been burned to death ! His body was 
charred to a blackened husk crusted over 
with a queer hard shell that flaked off in 
crackling fragments as Ed poked at it 
with his foot. 

For a long instant then there wasn't a 
sound save the eerie croon of the wind 
in the trees and our tightened breathings. 
This was incredible. Two minutes before 
we had seen him running — and now his 
carcass lay charred to a cinder as though 
it had been exposed to the blast of a holo- 
caust ! 

Helen — my wife — slid her hand into 
mine. It was a hand of ice. George Thorn- 
ton's voice came thick with bewilderment : 

"He's done to a crisp. But there isn't 
any fire. The grass around him isn't even 

We stared from the dead man to one 
another's whitened faces. No human hand, 
it seemed, could have killed him, only a 
power conjured from sorcery's depths. 
He had burned to death there where he 
lay — but the grass stems around him were 
still waving and green ! In vain I told 
myself that I was a fool, tried to use 
reason to convince myself that it was 
some kind of a grisly hoax. Educated 
man though I was, I couldn't, for this 
was beyond reason. 

It was the voice of Nathalie, Thornton's 
wife, that snapped us out of our uorrified 
staring and brought us wheeling around. 
Nathalie was a care-free and jolly sort, 
buxom, blue-eyed and always laughing. 
But now she stood queerly white, staring 

Arms of the Flame Goddess 

down at the ground. Fear was in her face. 

"Look ! Oh, look at that !" she cried. 

It was because they were so small that 
in our excitement we hadn't noticed the 
line of figures half buried in weeds and 
grass. We saw now that they were 
dancing dolls, long strings of six-inch high 
cut-outs linked arm in arm. From their 
nests of green stems they peered up with 
the pert impish faces of sprites evoked 
from the nether world. Such things as 
evil-minded children might have scissored 
and left to enclose the form of the dead 
man in a magic ring. But no children 
had been here — no one had been here. 

Mary Bradshaw let out a cry, her voice 
reedily thin and unnatural. 

"Don, let's go ! Let's get out of here. 
I'm afraid!" 

We were all afraid. Horror rode on the 
cold that flowed out of the mountain caves 
to tingle at the roots of our spines. "Yes, 
we'll go," I muttered. I slid my arm 
around Helen's slim waist, started to turn 
her away and then stiffened. For the 
undergrowth around us had suddenly 
come alive. Hunched squatting forms 
could be seen, with gnome-like faces, as 
though a vent from hell had poured a 
horde of its denizens up onto the earth. 
Their hands clutched sticks and clubs. 
The bushes rustled as they crept forward. 
Still sheer terror held us transfixed till a 
cry suddenly tocsinned : 

"Kill ! Kill ! Burn them to death !" 

We turned then and fled — fled from the 
picture of a dead man inside a ring of 
paper dolls, from the yells of those who 
wanted to do likewise to us. I don't know 
how we managed to keep ahead of them 
through the half mile of wood road out 
to the place where we had parked our car 
on the highway, for terror of nightmare 
seemed rooting our feet to the ground. 
The last hundred yards, I snatched Helen 
up into my arms and carried her and 
Thornton and Bradshaw did the same 
with their wives. 

The sun was close to setting as we 
dashed out to see the machine standing 
at the edge of the road. Yet there was 
light enough to show us the addition that 
had been made to it since we had left it 
there — a string of paper dolls looped 
across the front of the windshield. 

I yanked the things off and flung them 
on to the ground. We piled into the car 
without a word. Sweat clammed the pahn 
of my shaking hand as I fumbled the key 
into the lock of the ignition. 

T TRAMPED on the gas and sent the car 
* lurching and skidding around the sharp 
turns of the narrow road. Fast as I drove, 
it wasn't swiftly enough to shake us free 
of the terror that raced at our sides, that 
seemed to snatch at us from the shadow 
blots rolling down from the hills like 
swollen carcasses of octopi. 

We were returning to the house of one 
of the natives where we had engaged ac- 
commodations for the week or so that we 
had expected to be here. The business 
that had brought us to Monmouth Valley 
had started when Helen and I had been 
induced to join the other four friends who 
were with us in buying as a speculation a 
large tract of woodland property. That 
had been some years before. I knew that 
the timber standing on our land was of 
considerable value. But I had opposed 
their suggestions to cut and market it. I 
knew this region hereabouts and I hated 
the dark solitudes of the ridges and 
gloomy ravines. I feared the ignorance 
and sullen cruelty of its natives. 

But when there came to us a report of 
an engineer that signs of oil were ap- 
parent in several places, the importunities 
of my wife and the others became too 
insistent to stand against. My first sug- 
gestion had been for the other two men 
to come with me to investigate the truth 
of the reports. But the girls vetoed the 
idea of being left out. "I'm an owner as 
much as you are, and I'm going, too!'* 


Dime Mystery Magazine 

Helen had exclaimed, her eyes sparkling. 

That was like Helen. Petite, brown- 
eyed and vivacious, she was a live-wire 
of eager vitality. For the five years of 
our marriage she had been my partner in 
everything — mind, soul and body. I loved 
her with respect for her fine brain, de- 
votion to her loyalty and a hunger for 
her lush, perfect womanhood that held 
still a lover's ardent heat. 

The other wives too had insisted on 
coming and so we had made up the party. 
We had arrived three days before and 
from the information we had so far gath- 
ered, the prediction of buried riches 
seemed to have something. It looked as 
though we might be in for a clean-up. 

But I couldn't be easy in mind. The 
natives hated us, strangers coming to dis- 
turb the vice-ridden isolation in which 
they delighted. In the squalid little village 
which formed their metropolis, something 
foul and obscene seemed to breathe in the 
very air. When I saw the sin-bitten 
countenances and piggy eyes of its in- 
habitants fastened on Helen, I would have 
given a million if she hadn't come. 

And now the dead man in the woods, 
and the paper dolls. And those dolls, too, 
across the front of our car. . . . What 
sense in that macabre mingling of childish 
toys and hideous death? It was the re- 
volting prank of a ghoul. I looked down 
to meet Helen's eyes turned up to mine, 
and I knew that the smile I strove to 
make reassuring was twisted and white. 

rpHE house to which we were returning 
•*■ was the home of Frank Leadbetter 
and his wife, who had been recommended 
by our only friend in town, lawyer Emery 
Paave. Supper was ready when we had 
garaged the car in the barn and gone 
into the house, with our two hosts await- 
ing our arrival in the kitchen. 

Leadbetter was a gangling bean-pole 
of a countryman, with tallow-white face 
t'-at sloped, chinless, into the open neck 

of his faded blue shirt. He had a shock 
of slicked-down red hair and pale blue 
parrot eyes above a hooked beak of a 
nose. Big as he was, he was dominated 
into cringing subservience by his acid- 
tongued little shrew of a wife. Maria 
Leadbetter could have served as a pattern 
of womanhood at its most repellent — a 
face dark and forbidding as a tomahawk, 
with rodent black eyes under greasy 
tangles of hair that looked as though it 
had never known the ministrations of a 

We ate without much conversation, for 
the memory of what had happened lay 
like something dead in our stomachs. 
Finally I leaned toward the farmer and 
suddenly asked : 

"Did you ever hear of a man being 
burned to death without any fire ?" 

The man's fork dropped clattering to 
the table. He shot me a glassy-eyed stare. 
He lifted a big white hand, matted with 
reddish hairs, to paw at the wattled flesh 
under his gullet. 

"He didn't pay up," he managed to 
mutter at last. "They hexed him to burn." 

"Whom didn't he pay ?" I exclaimed. 
"Pay what?" 

For a long moment, while Leadbetter 
stared at me, there wasn't a word spoken. 
Bradshaw sat motionless, his square heavy 
face with the mop of black hair tensely 
alert. Thornton's lean, intellectual counte- 
nance with the brilliant blue eyes was 
sharp as a hound's on the scent. 

Whether the farmer would have told 
us more, I do not know. But his wife, 
standing behind at the stove, half turned 
to rasp out a cry discordant as a raven's 
croak. Leadbetter flinched as though he 
had been lashed by a whip. And after 
that he wouldn't utter another word. 

The meal was finished in silence. Rising 
from the table, I left the house and went 
out on the piazza. I wanted a chance to 
try to focus my thoughts, to try to figure 
some sense out of these fantasies. In a 

Arms of the Flame Goddess 


moment Helen joined me, to wrap both 
of her arms around one of mine and hud- 
dle against me. 

It might have been five or six minutes 
that we stood there, staring at the black 
wall of the forest only a short distance 
away. And then I heard my wife's breath 
in a swift indrawing as her grip tightened 
around my arm. 

Out there among the trees, lights were 
moving, pale will-o'-the-wisps that flitted 
through the gloom like torches of etherial 
fire. And then came something more in- 
credible yet. For the fire seemed to take 
on the shapes of girls dancing — linked 
hand in hand like the paper dolls ! Slim 
nude shapes that swayed in spectral 
minuet. And now they seemed to be 
beckoning to me, luring, taunting, with 
an invitation of Circe-like wantonness. 

Foul, unclean things were whispering, 
I felt their snaky crawling across my 
brain. For I was aware of an amazing 
emotion, a longing to go there to those 
girls ! 

I knew a cold clutching of incredulous 
fear. I as an educated man, couldn't 
believe in any rot of supernatural powers 
such as was driving the Leadbetters cold 
with fear. But what could have happened 
to me to make me so unlike myself, to 
make me sweat with unnatural desire to 
clutch those naked girls in my clasp? It 
was as though the hex sign of the dolls 
on my car, despite my disbelief in them, 
had distilled a subtle poison into my soul. 

What dreadful thing might have taken 
place the next instant I don't dare to 
think. I was tugging impatiently at 
Helen's hands to free myself when steps 
sounded behind and Bradshaw's voice 
came in a gagging shout from the door- 
way. What he husked out in terror was : 

"Collier, come in here ! For God's sake, 
come into the house!" 

His voice sounded insane devoid *)f 
meaning, it rose from a strangled sobbing 
to lash the air in dull iterations. 

They Kill Without Hands 

A SCREAM tocsinned from inside as 
•** we turned to run after him. It came 
from a room up at the head of the stairs. 
We saw Mary Bradshaw's face peering 
down over her husband's shoulder, and 
the next moment we were up on the land- 
ing too. 

A few minutes before, it seemed, Thorn- 
ton had excused himself to come up here. 
Wondering what bad kept him when he 
didn't return, Nathalie had come to see. 
She had found — what we saw there in the 
middle of the floor. 

We knew that it must be Thornton, the 
platinum wrist watch on his arm told us 
that. But the face that looked up at us 
wasn't his. It wasn't — human. It was a 
jet cinder, a shrunken and blackened skull 
burned hard as iron with rows of white 
teeth in sardonic grinning between what 
was left of the lips. The rest of him 
hadn't been touched, his clothes were un- 
scorched. And no fire had been there, 
for the bare boards around him weren't 
even singed. 

I stood there with my fingernails biting 
into my palms and I wanted to yell out 
my horror. Helen's mouth opened to 
speak, but the rasped croakings that came 
from it conveyed nothing save utter ter- 
ror. She threw herself into my arms, 
shaking hysterically, her hands clawing 
my shoulders. 

"Oh, what did it? What killed him 
like that, without anyone's hearing?" she 
finally managed to gasp. 

I didn't answer her. I was just a com- 
mon man, as well informed as the average, 
as open to reason. But this — I put it out 
of my mind. I wouldn't allow myself to 
think what I would have to if I thought 
at all. 

Steps became audible on the stairs and 
the face of Maria Leadbetter showed in 


Dime Mystery Magazine 

the doorway. Her huge husband scuffed 
dog-Hke at her heels. He took one look 
at what lay on the floor and went green. 
His mouth made gulping motions like 
those of a fish and then he gasped : 

"It's them! They've been here! Been 
in the house — " 

His wife didn't utter a word. She shot 
a glance at Thornton and then she whirled 
and went clattering down stairs. She was 
muttering some unintelligible farrago un- 
der her breath. What she seemed to be 
croaking was a rigamarole of disjointed 
phrases, over and over like a charm. 

I pulled Helen out of the room and then 
they were all getting out of there. We 
didn't even lift Thornton to lay him on 
the bed. None of us could endure the 
thought of touching that twisted thing 
that we knew would squirm and crackle 
under our touch. 

There was only one thing to be done 
now, and we all knew what it was. But 
Helen voiced it first. She moaned : 

"Don take me away from here ! Get me 
out of this place !" 

I looked at Bradshaw. He said: 

"I'll get one of the cars. You folks get 
busy and pack what you will need for 

He hurried down stairs. I stayed with 
the girls while Helen and Mary packed 
for themselves and Nathalie, too. Thorn- 
ton's wife was on the verge of a crack-up. 
She sagged down on the edge of Mary's 
bed and sat swaying to and fro, racking 
out those horrible tearless sobs. 

TT TOOK Helen maybe two minutes to 
fling a few necessaries into a couple 
of bags. When the suitcases were ready I 
picked them up and preceded the girls 
down stairs. The front door was open. 
Maria "Leadbetter was outside working 
feverishly with a shovel. She was digging 
a hole in front of the step. Just as we 
came into sight she dropped into it a 
freshly killed chicken. And with it was 

silver — a handful of trinkets and cheap 
jewelry — and a wisp of hairs from the tail 
of a horse. 

"What are those for?" I said. 

She looked up at me, face contorted, 

"The hexes can't git over 'em," she 
panted. "I'm a-goin' to put some more at 
the back door an' lay knives on the winder 

The spot of cold on my spine slid to 
my scalp. Where were we ? In twentieth 
century America or back in the Dark 

There wasn't long to think about that, 
for suddenly Bradshaw appeared around 
the side of the house. He barged up to 
the door and stood gripping its frame, 
face sweat-beaded and whiter than wax. 

"We can't make it !" he gasped. 
"They've ruined the cars. Tires slashed, 
ignition ripped out, gas tanks split open — 
it will take hours in a repair shop to get 
them rolling." 

For an instant no word was spoken. 
Something sightless and cold seemed to 
pass over us, the shadow of death. Then 
Mary Bradshaw screamed : 

"We're too late ! They're going to kill 
us I We're all going to burn to death !" 

Finally we hauled ourselves around 
back into the house and into the grubby 
little sitting room. We stood there and 
tried to think what to do. Walking was 
out of the question, we were twenty miles 
from the nearest town. There was only 
one man in the place to whom w^e could 
appeal — lawyer Emery Paave. And he 
was down in the village a couple of miles 

Finally it was decided that one of us 
— it chanced to be me who was picked 
by the fall of a coin — should try to get 
there and see him and also the sheriff. It 
was agreed that the three girls and Brad- 
shaw should all sit together down stairs 
and that he should have Leadbetter's 
loaded shotgun. 

Arms of the Flame Goddess 


We didn't know how much time we 
had — if we had any time. No one knew 
how Thornton had burned. But if he had 
died, why not Brad, or Mary — or Helen? 
Any one of us, at any moment now, turn- 
ing black the way he "had ! Somehow I 
felt, I think we all knew, that whatever 
we did would be helpless and futile. How 
could we, with puny human means, thwart 
the unseen menace of those who had twice 
killed with a power that must come from 
hell ? I took Helen into my arms to kiss 
her goodbye, and my soul was cold. 

TTHE village houses were like skulls of 
long-dead colossi with blinking yellow 
eyes, lining the road. A brighter cluster of 
illumination marked the location of the 
store. Through dust-grimed windows I 
saw the place half filled with a motley 
crowd. Worm-eaten boards creaked un- 
der my feet and then I swung open the 
door and paused on the threshold, looking 

For a moment none of the score of 
slouched figures seemed to have noticed 
my entrance. In that instant before a word 
was said I noticed again a fact that had 
puzzled me more than once before, that 
many of them wore in the lapels of their 
coats small buttons as though marking 
membership in some order. The design 
of the emblem was a face of scarlet against 
a black background. And what a face! 
A miniature replica of a Satan, with beady 
green eyes and sprouting horns. 

I raised my voice. 

"Can anyone tell me where to find 
Emery Paave?" 

A few heads turned to cast black 
glances back at me but save for that my 
inquiry elicited no response. One pimply- 
faced youth stood slouched against a wall, 
eyeing me. I approached him, money dis- 
played in my half-opened hand. 

"Want to make five dollars ?" I said. 

The lad's eyes lighted greedily as he 
pocketed the bill. 

"Doin' what?" he said in a high treble. 

"I'm after a little information." I 
stepped closer and lowered my voice. "Did 
you ever hear of men that go around in 
the woods with whips, flogging people?" 

The paucky-looking youth stiffened. 
His eyes narrowed to wary slits. His 
mumbling reply was too ready, too facile : 

"Me? I never heard of 'em." 

I reached out to touch the devil button 
in his coat. 

"What's that?" I said. "Some society 
that you belong to ?" 

His eyes flickered sidewise. A vulpine 
look came over his face. He mumbled : 

"Hit's nawthin'. Jest suthin' I found." 

I ought to have known that I had said 
enough, for the others had turned to come 
flocking around us, a cluster of pale, men- 
acing eyes. A wizened old ruffian with 
trickles of tobacco juice leaking from the 
angles of his toothless gums shoved up to 
me and rasped in a strident falsetto : 

"You ever hear o' folk gettin' into 
trouble by askin' questions that didn't con- 
cern 'em? Git out o* here and go along 
o' your own business." 

Common sense should have told me my 
danger then and warned me to clear out 
while they would still let me go. But fool- 
hardily I asked one more thing, for I 
thought that some one might let go of a 
hint to indicate who was behind the out- 
rages that were taking place, and I still 
didn't really believe that they would dare 
harm me. What I said was : 

"I found a man dead in the woods this 
afternoon. He must have been burned to 
death by children, for there were paper 

The moment those words left my lips 
I knew I had done it. Hunger for murder 
had Iain like a mine in that crowd, only 
awaiting a spark to set it off, and my re- 
mark was the spark. An animal growl 
rasped around the ring. I saw upraised 
hands gripping clubs. Hunched figures 
surged toward me, a circle of hate-twisted 


Dime Mystery Magazine 

faces. Hatred founded on the primitive 
unreasoning ignorance of beasts. 

Terror snatched at me then. I started 
backing away from them toward the door. 
I had just managed to get outside when 
some one threw a stone. A shower of 
missiles pelted me and the next moment I 
was pinned in the center of a cursing and 
milling pack. 

For an instant it was slug, smash and 
punch with my fear-needled muscles en- 
dowed with a strength that wasn't my 
own. I had been a middle-weight boxer in 
college and for a short time I held my 
ground with them. My jabs drove them 
back holding their jaws and clutching 
their stomachs. They surged closer and 
I grunted grim relish as I felt faces cave 
under my full swings. 

But this couldn't last. They yammered 
fury and came on afresh. I knew stabbing 
agony as their sticks bludgeoned my skull. 
Some one tripped me and I was down. 
They were using their feet on me now. 
With insensate cruelty of a wolf-pack 
rending a fallen one, they pounded my 
head and my vitals. I rolled on to my face 
and tried to protect my brain with my 
folded arms. Their blows ripped them 
away. The most terrible of all sounds 
upon earth, the death roar of a mob, 
rolled over me while shrill voices sky- 
rocketed : 

"Kill the damned rich un! Pound the 
damned spy to death!" 

Only feebly now could I strive to cover 
myself, for my numbed muscles were al- 
most done. I knew they were killing me. 
I sobbed prayers for mercy and I heard 
them laughing in mockery as my senses 
slipped into oblivion. 


The Punished Of God 

I CAME back from unconsciousness — 
from death as I at first thought in my 
dazed bewilderment— to find myself lying 

on a couch with a huge figure standing 
and looking down at me in the light of an 
oil lamp. My forehead was wet and the 
raw taste of whisky burned my lips. 

I blinked, grunted and pushed myself 
up to sitting. Seeing me at last coming 
around, the big man set the lamp down on 
a table and with a sigh of relief pulled a 
chair up to my side. He was the man I 
had come to see, lawyer Paave, a moun- 
tainous Dutchman with a mane of yellow 
hair and a face round and red as a balloon. 

"You haf had a narrow esgape, my 
friendt Collier, a fery narrow esgape," 
he said in his thickened guttural. "Those 
maniacs out there would haf gilled you if 
I had not come along yust in time and 
driven them off. What happened — from 
de beginning?" 

I told him the story, commencing with 
the flogging man in the woods and ending 
with Thornton's death and the crippling 
of our cars. He shook his head as I fin- 
ished. Deeply troubled, his voice rumbled 

"It iss even worse than I feared. I do 
nod need to tell you of the dreadful ignor- 
ance and superstitions of de people in this 
valley, how they are believers in witch- 
craft. This may seem ingoncievable in 
these days of progress, but you haf only 
to read in de newspapers to know of de 
hex murders that take place around liere. 

"But this iss nod all. There are de 
Penitentes, those fools who haf gone mad 
pondering on their sins. They commit 
horrible deeds to gain salvation through 
punishment of de flesh. And it iss believed 
— though no one iss sure — that the man 
who is at de head of de Penitentes is also 
de hex boss who through his supposed 
power to cast charms and bewitch his 
enemies forces efery man, woman and 
child to obey his gomrnands. He plays a 
double part. From time to time he kills 
some one in a terrible way to terrify de 
others and keep them obedient. And he 
has goot reason for wanting you out of de 

Arms of the Flame Goddess 


way. If you find oil, it will mean the com- 
ing of business, of progress, everything 
which will end his gontrol which iss based 
on fear and ignorance." 

"Have you any idea how he does it?" 
I said. "How he kills them without any 
fire ?" 

Paave got out a silk handkerchief and 
mopped the sweat from his bald head. He 
looked at me strangely. 

"Hexes," he muttered. "They are be- 
witched. He puts a charm on them so that 
they burn." 

I stared at him. 

"You believe that, too?" I exclaimed. 
"You, an educated man — " 

"When I first came here, I would haf 
said the same as you," the blue-eyed giant 
muttered. "But now, my friendt Collier, 
I haf seen — Gott knows what I haf seen !" 

I got myself up from the bed to pace 
the floor. The fear of this unimaginative 
Dutchman, his acceptance as fact of the 
things that I had tried to tell myself were 
sheer madness, frightened me more, ac- 
tually, than Thornton's death and the 
thing in the woods. 

"Who is this man?" I said after a mo- 
ment. "Where can I find him?" 

"His name iss Hans Ludlam. He iss 
another Dutchman," Paave answered. 
"He lives in a shack in de woods." 

"I'm going to see him," I said. "I'm 
going to have the truth out of him. Will 
you take me — or are you afraid?" 

Paave knocked the ashes out of his long 

pipe and rose slowly. He said heavily : 

"I am nod afraid of him, but you must 
nod go there — nod now." He held up his 
hand. "Listen out there, to the mob. The 
town iss crazy tonight with hate against 
you and yours. When I wass bringing 
you in here I heard them talking about 
going out to get the rest of your friends. 
You haf a lovely wife, and — " 

The big man's voice dropped to a fear- 
tightened husking. 

"But it iss nod those out there with 
the clubs whom you should fear most, 
for they kill only the body. It iss the 
others who slay body and soul too with 
their fires — fires from hell kindled without 
human hands." The grip of his powerful 
fingers bit into my arm. "This afternoon 
they put the hex on you — and her, too, 
No one who has ever received that has 
lived, not ever one. If you have one little 
chance to see her alive before dot burning 
come to her — " 

Still talking rapidly he steered me 
across the room toward a door. 

"Go by the back way out and get home 
to her. Go as fast as you can, and then 
faster. I will go to the sheriff. He and 
I will get Ludlam and the two of us will 
take him to Leadbetter's. You can talk 
with him and then we still stay with you 
the rest of the night." 

I gripped his hand silently. Through 
the moment's silence voices in the street 
rose in hubbub of curses. Lantern lights 
glinted on waving clubs. 


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Dime Mystery Magazine 

"Come on! Let's go and get them!" 
the gathering cry rang. 

Paave pushed me swiftly out of the 
room and pointed my way along a dark- 
ened rear passage. I followed it to a back 
door opening into a yard. 

Outside, I halted an instant to listen to 
the growl that rolled over the housetops 
and then I started to run. The two miles 
of rutty, mud-plastered going seemed long 
as eternity. I raced through patches of 
forest and then between overhanging cliffs 
where the wind came freighted with cold 
and voices of things unseen crooned from 
the rock crannies. My panting breaths 
tugged my lungs out by the roots while 
terror, gibbering at my heels, flogged me 
faster and faster still. If God would only 
let me find Helen there, find her alive. . . , 

IV I HEN at last I pounded into the yard, 
I took one look at the house and my 
heart dropped like a lump of lead into 
my stomach. The front door sagged awry 
on shattered hinges, the windows gaped 
with splintered panes. The mud in the 
yard was chewed into quagmire by milling 
of many feet. 

I raced up to the door and there I stood 
rigid an instant before I could move or 
speak. At last I wet my lips and managed 
to gasp : "Helen ! Helen, where are you ?" 

There was no answer. A ribboned win- 
dow shade slatted back and forth. A va- 
grant wind was wandering through the 
dark hallways. It swayed the flame of the 
single candle that stood on a table as 
though tugging at it with spectral fingers. 
Somewhere a dog howled. 

I stumbled in over the threshold and 
caught up the candle. From room to room 
I stormed. I cast wild-eyed glances into 
dark corners, from time to time I halted 
to sob out her name. 

And then suddenly I heard her answer, 
a far-away shrilling : 

"Don! Don, I'm here!" 

I beat my way toward that wailing, my 

hands pawing the dark as though they 
would tear open a passage through which 
I could fly to her. As I rounded a corner, 
there was a pattering of feet and a slim 
little figure rushed to throw itself into my 
arms. She clung to me in hysterical re- 
action and I could feel her body throb in 
the tremors that racked it. She lifted her 
tear-streaked face to mine and I couldn't 
stop kissing her. 

"What happened?" I whispered at last. 
"Was it the mob from the village?" 

"No— some of those men that we saw 
in the woods, with the whips. They broke 
down the door. I ran up into the attic 
and hid under a bed." 

"And the others?" I said. "Thornton 
and Brad and Mary — " 

Her answer came in sobbed moaning. 
"They got them, they took them away. 
Not the Leadbetter's, though; they ran 
into the woods." 

My heart beats checked w r ith a sudden 
sick feeling. All our friends gone. And 
only God's mercy that Helen, too. . . . 

I blew out the candle and for a long 
minute we stood motionless, clinging to 
one another and listening. Outside, the 
night was alive with noises, whisperings 
and clickings and rustlings. Whether 
those ghouls had departed or were still 
hanging around there was no way to tell. 
If those noises out there were men, they 
would realize that there was one whom 
they hadn't got and return. 

Then, little by little, a small wooden 
sound became audible, rhythmic, persist- 
ent, like tapping of spectral drumsticks 
out of the night's immensity. I listened a 
moment longer and then I slid my arm 
around Helen while I laughed shakily. 

"That's the loose spoke in Paave's 
buggy," I said. "He and the sheriff are 
coming. And the boss of the Penitentes." 

A COUPLE of minutes later the ancient 
"^ horse-drawn vehicle turned into the 
yard. Paave and the big flaxen-haired 

Arms of the Flame Goddess 


sheriff got out and came forward. Helen 
and I met them on the steps and I told 
them what had taken place. 

"They've got all of our friends," I con- 
cluded savagely. "And if that man there 
is Hans Ludlam, he knows where they 

Paave turned to the figure which up to 
this time had stood half concealed in the 

"Dere iss Hans Ludlam," he said. 

I stepped closer to Ludlam. Big as 
Paave was, the boss of the Penitentes 
loomed shoulders above him. A huge 
white beard rippling like burnished silver 
from the blue, intensely penetrating eyes 
clear to the man's wrist gave him a pa- 
triarchal appearance. He had a swelling 
dome of a bald head over high corrugated 
forehead, a nose massive and rapacious as 
a hawk's beak. The mouth under the 
bushy moustache was a pair of lips thin, 
white, incredibly cruel. 

"Is it true that you are the leader of 
a sect known as the Punished of God?" I 

The big shining head nodded indif- 

"I am the pastor of those of us who are 
aware of the power of sin," a deep voice 
rumbled sonorously, 

"And your adherents torture themselves 
and one another by voluntary floggings ?" 
I continued. 

"Christ was flogged with a whip of 
thorns before He died on the cross," the 
patriarch intoned. "Can we wretched mor- 
tals do less than accept punishment for 
our sins in the same way?" 

"And you practice witchcraft as a side 
line," I went on. "You keep this valley 
of ignorant people in slavery by working 
on their superstitions. You kill men and 
women to keep them subservient to you." 

The man's voice came with the bellow 
of an angry bull. 

"That is a lie ! I do not deny that such 
things go on. But they are the doings of 

— others. We are just a company of poor 
struggling souls trying to purify ourselves 
so that in the day of judgment we may be 
received at the heavenly gates. We harm 
no others and what we do among our- 
selves is our own affair." 

"My friends and I saw a man flogging 
himself in the woods this afternoon," I 
retorted. "When we got to him, he had 
been burned to death, but no fire was 
near him. Men with whips — some of your 
men — were there and chased us. There 
was a hex sign of paper dolls there, and 
one on our car. Later, one of our party 
was killed in this house in the same way. 
Those men of yours did it all. They took 
our friends away an hour ago. Where are 
they now ?" 

T^OR a long moment the man stared at 
me in such frozen silence that I 
thought he had not understood what I 
said. Then suddenly he leaped at me, 
clubbed fists beating like pile drivers. 
They came down on my shoulders and 
one smash of them beat me to my knees. 
I tried to jump backward, but they found 
me again. They pounded my head and 
the back of my neck. Their blows rang on 
my cranium till they filled it with shooting 

Paave and the sheriff were after him 
now. He drove his great knotted hands 
into their faces like rocks at the ends of 
piston-rods. They staggered back, gasp- 
ing through spurting blood. They rallied 
and charged him again and he beat them 
like puppets. 

They were gone now, taken to flight, 
and he whirled to where I was just stag- 
gering up to my feet. He blasted me down 
again. His fists were hammers of Thor 
beating the life out of a squirming pigmy 
of mortal man who twisted and grovelled 
this way and that to escape from their 

Finally he paused to get breath. Like 
a mouse fleeing a torturing cat, I dragged 


Dime Mystery Magazine 

myself, half crawling 1 , half running, into 
some bushes. He didn't follow me. I 
heard him muttering under his breath as 
he turned and went stamping out of the 
yard and off down the road. 

I got myself up on my feet and stood 
leaning against a tree, panting and spitting 
blood. I felt as though I had been pum- 
meled by the hoofs of a horse. I wiped 
tears and sweat from my eyes and looked 
around for Paave and the sheriff. I 
couldn't see either of them, or the buggy. 
And then the spine-tingling realization 
came that they had fled. Terrified at Lud- 
lam's berserker onslaught, they had left 
Helen and me to his mercy. Helen — what 
had become of her ? I looked wildly 
around, gasped her name. 

Footsteps sounded and she was there, 
shivering against my side. I slid my arm 
around her yielding softness and 1 
thanked God for one mercy, that she was 
alive. She clung to me, she sobbed 
through chattering teeth : 

"What are we going to do now, Don? 
Where can we go?" 

"Try to get back to town, I guess," I 
said. "Get to Paave's. He's a coward, 
but he'll take us in." 

I thought that, then — I dreamed that 
in this night of fear there could be one 
place of safety for us ! 

Helen and I groped our way to the 
road. For five or ten minutes we plodded 
along, clinging to one another's hands 
and not talking. The darkness was 
thronged with armies of shadows that 
scuttled forward, skipped sidewise, rolled 
backward again. Shadows of rocks and 
trees, or . . . We couldn't tell. We slid 
past them, cringing, and the leaping of 
their swart arms at us brought showers 
of gooseflesh tingling our spines. 

And little by little I was convinced that 
they weren't shadows of inanimate things. 
The croaking of frogs in the marshes had 
been the only sounds for a while. Then 
from behind came rustlings and grittings, 

squshing of feet, rumble of gutteral whis- 
pers. The roadway was clogged with a 
jumble of forms whose whiplashes zig- 
zagged against the stars. 

"There they are! They're coming for 
us !" Helen's cry spurted. And then we 
were running, stumbling and tripping, 
slewing through mud, racing as we had 
never fled before. I pulled Helen along 
by one hand and visions of Thornton's 
cindered face and the circle of paper dolls 
twisted an iron hand in my vitals. 

How long or how far we ran I wouldn't 
know. Finally came the time when I knew 
it was over, for we couldn't go any more. 
Helen's knees had melted beneath her, I 
had swept her up into my arms. Now I 
too was winded, retching for breath and 
spitting blood. 

Her voice came half strangled from 
where her face was crushed into my shoul- 

"Kill me, Don ! Kill me now with your 
pocket knife! Don't let them get me!" 
she sobbed. "Not to die the way Thorn- 
ton did. Do it now, quickly, while I am 
kissing you!" 


Fingers Of Doom 

W7ITH my free hand I fumbled for the 
" knife in my pocket. She was right. 
Better death at my loving hands than the 
tortures of those sadist beasts. And that 
was somehing for which the Almighy 
would forgive me on judgment day. 

Wildly I groaned as I kissed her. I 
would have done it the next instant, had 
I not suddenly caught sight of a light in 
a house window. And perhaps, even so, 
it would have been better. Perhaps she 
would he happier now ; perhaps I would 
be spared the nightmares that are slowly 
driving me mad, if I had opened a vein 
in her little white throat. 

But the house was there, just a short 
distance ahead, and I flogged my legs in 

Arms of the Flame Goddess 


a frantic sprint. Sagging piazza boards 
creaked under my weight as I rushed up 
to the door. I didn't pause to knock. I 
pawed for the latch, burst open the door 
and threw myself over the threshold. Be- 
fore looking to see who was there or ex- 
plain to them, I spun around to find the 
bolt and throw it across. 

I set Helen down on her feet. White 
fires where searing my inwards and for 
a long minute I sprawled against the wall 
gasping before I could utter a sound. 

"The floggers are after us!" I finally 
managed to pant. 

There were two of them in the poverty- 
bare kitchen, a woman and man. The 
poorest type of the most ignorant in- 
habitants of the valley, ill-clad, ill-nour- 
ished, vacant-eyed. At my words the 
woman let out a moan. The man's jaw 
went limp. 

"They — ye say they're out there?" His 



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voice rasped in a scream. "They'll git 
me ! They've come to kill me !" 

"We'll fight them off," I said. "Haven't 
you got something, a gun or an axe or 
some clubs, anything we can fight with?" 

He shook his head. "Wouldn't do no 
good. I didn't pay in, didn't hev no money 
to pay." 

"You didn't have money to pay what?" 
I said. 

He looked at me curiously. "You're 
strange in these parts, ain't ye ? We 
couldn't pay fer our button. They come 
high — twenty dollars. And now — " 

He turned to point at one of the win- 
dows. Against the outside of the glass 
had been pasted a string of the dancing 
dolls. His finger jerked with his trem- 
bling, beads of sweat rolled over his face. 

"They put 'em up three days ago," he 
slathered. "That means he hexed me. 
Means that I got to die." 

Out of the bowels of the earth they came, old 
and lank and blind—and their cold, dead 
hands sought warm, fresh youth. The whole 
town shuddered with uncontrollable terror, 
and parents clasped their daughters close in 
their arms, For they all had heard the dread 
whisper — 


By Frederick C. Davis 

—an eerie, blood-chilling, feature-length novel 
heading an issue packed to the brim with 
unforgettable stories and novelettes by such 
leading writers as Wayne Rogers, E. Hoffmann 
Price, Leon Byrne, and others, 

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Dime Mystery Magazine 

I stared at him. It couldn't actually be 
true, that in these modern days I was 
watching a man gibbering in terror be- 
cause some one had pasted paper dolls 
on his window pane! Yet when I re- 
membered those other two men, my heart 
seemed to turn over. Explain it or not, 
call those fears madness of fools, that 
pair had died in a way that no sophistry 
of the effete civilized world could begin 
to account for. Something hideous and 
stark and primitive was here. 

"Who is this man you say hexes you 
because you didn't buy one of his but- 
tons?" I said at last. 

The farmer shook his head, 

"I dunno. Nobody does. He never 
shows up himself, jest sends around one 
of the boys that works for him. Some of 
the men tried stringin' up one of them 
boys to make him talk. He didn't — but 
every last one in the crowd that did it 
was dead inside of a month. Burned to 

I understood now the meaning of those 
emblems that I had seen in the village. 
Some mind with a hellish genius that 
cast that of a New York racketeer into 
eclipse had figured out this way to capital- 
ize the superstitions of these besotted 
country folk and wax fat on their sacri- 
fices. If they bought a button and wore 
it — paid for "protection" — they weren't 
bewitched. If they didn't. . . . 

"Anyhow, it's all nonsense." I gripped 
the man's arm and shook him to jolt his 
bovine mind out of its daze. "There is 
no such thing as witchcraft. It's all a — " 

He wasn't listening. He was staring 
past me at something over my shoulder. 
I saw his jaw drop and then a strange 
light that I can only describe as hunger 
stab through the apathy of his eyes. His 
lips grew slack and wet and a gurgling 
sound broke from his throat. 

I turned to follow his gaze. I heard 
Helen's gasp and then I felt my own 
pulses spurt with amazement. 

A WINDOW opened from the kitchen 
■** onto the piazza. And through this, 
against the awful blackness of the night, a 
figure was visible. It was that of a young 
girl, utterly nude save for a gauzy scarf 
around her slim loins. She was of a witch- 
ing, Circe-like beauty. Her gaze fastened 
on us — on both of us men — and I for one 
couldn't withdraw my eyes. Her look 
held a pagan allure, knowledge of age- 
old power of things beyond words, of the 
stark and primitive instincts that call 
from woman to man. 

She stepped back from the window so 
that her whole figure was visible. Her 
arms rose over her head. Her slender 
body taut and standing on tip-toe, she 
seemed to be reaching to draw down the 
tide of white light to her bosom. Like a 
naiad of ethereal and inhuman beauty she 
stood there, quivering, breasts hardened 
and throbbing — a thing not of this world, 
thrilling to the call of something born of 
the night and the moon's radiance. 

Her amis dropped. Lascivious ripplings 
passed through her, writhings of a cat in 
throes of desire. She lifted her breasts in 
her cupped hands, holding them toward 

A choked cry burst from the farmer. 
And then I saw him rush past me to claw 
at the bolt securing the door. Sweat stood 
on his face, it was the passion-gripped 
face of an animal. His wife let out a 
scream. She ran after him to pound at 
his hands, trying to beat them down from 
the latch. Failing in that, she flung her- 
self on him, battling with all her frenzied 
strength to drive him away. 

He shoved her angrily one side. He 
shot back the bolt, wrenched the door 
open and dashed out. 

And I ran behind him ! I didn't at that 
time understand what prompted me to 
do that. If I had used any reason at all 
to account for my action, I would have 
told myself that I wanted to find out what 
was happening, who was behind it. For 

Arms of the Flame Goddess 


those who had been chasing us were no 
longer in evidence. They seemed to have 
been drawn elsewhere to a fresh victim. 

I would have told myself that. But my 
eyes had devoured the seduction of that 
naked girl and heat fired my brain. Again 
that strange impulse that I had felt once 
before was urging me, too, in pursuit of 
the evasive figure that eluded the farmer's 
wild rush and went pirouetting across the 

She didn't pause for him to overtake 
her. She ran swiftly to the opening of a 
path that led into the woods. Down this 
she sped, a lambent white flame in the 
darkness, and behind her lumbered the un- 
gainly form of the rustic. 

I turned in there to rush after them. 
But Helen had had enough. She brought 
me back to my sense with a stinging slap 
in the face. 

"What are you doing, Don ?" she cried. 
"What is the matter with you?" 

I halted, blinked and passed my hand 
over my eyes. I had a queerly dazed feel- 

"I don't know," I muttered. "I must 
have been bewitched." 

I had said that, not of course meaning 
it literally, but as a thoughtless form of 
words to convey that something had taken 
place which I couldn't explain. And then 
my voice broke as a cold hand leaped to 
the back of my neck. The farmer claimed 
to have been bewitched, and I had scoffed 
at the notion. But some unholy compul- 
sion had drawn him from his wife's side 
to follow the girl to what he must have 
realized would be his death. And for the 
second time tonight I too had known that 
same unearthly, almost uncontrollable 
temptation ! 

I groaned and swept Helen into my 
arms. Hexes, witchcraft — phantoms 
whose power lives only in the minds of 
the damned, those slaves of fear, or vital 
forces of evil? In that moment of terror 
I didn't know, for I had lost the faculty 

of reasoning. I only knew that I had just 
experienced an invisible magnetism of sin 
against which no will power could strug- 
gle. If Helen had not been here to save 
me. . . , 

Sweat stood on the palms of my hands 
as we turned and started back toward 
the road. Still we saw nothing of our 
late pursuers. They had gone into the 
woods where the girl had been leading 
the farmer. From deep in the forest came 
cracking of whips and a tocsin of agony. 
A voice rose in gagged screechings to lash 
the dead air. A sudden light flared briefly 
and died. Wafting of breeze brought 
aroma of roasting flesh. I grabbed Helen's 
arm and husked through clenched teeth : 

"Come on, let's run! Let's get out of 
this !" 

TF7"E came to the highway and started 
once more in the direction of town. 
For perhaps ten minutes we plodded along 
when we were overtaken by a buggy 
which came lurching over the road at a 
gallop. It drew down to a halt and the 
face that peered from around the side cur- 
tains was that of lawyer Paave. He waited 
for us and exclaimed as we came up : 

"I haf been looking efery where for you. 
Ludlam knocked me out senseless into 
some bushes, that must be the reason you 
did not see me. The horse took fright at 
de fighting and ran away and then de 
sheriff is scared too and he goes. After 
you two haf left, I come to my senses 
back. I catch de horse half a mile down 
the road and start to search for you." 

He made room on the seat. 

"Get in. I take you back to my house 
where you will be safe. De sheriff is out 
with a possee looking for Ludlam. In de 
morning everything will be all right." 

There was nothing else to be done. I 
dreaded going back to the village. I feared 
to stay in Paave's house. For his story 
of that last half hour sounded fishy. Be- 
tween him and Ludlam I had seemed to 


Dime Mystery Magazine 

sense some unspoken understanding. Sup- 
pose he himself were in with the bearded 
giant — was the boss of the hex business ! 
But we had to go somewhere. The law- 
yer's house seemed the only hope. 

If I had realized then that there was 
no hope — not any at all ! 

Paave arrived at his back door by side 
streets avoiding the crowd that still milled 
in the main thoroughfare. The first faces 
I saw when we got inside were those of 
Leadbetter and his wife. 

"They came here to get taken care of, 
too," Paave explained. 

I went up to my erstwhile host and 

"Have you got one of those buttons ?" 

He stared at me for an instant as 

though tempted to say he didn't know 

what I meant. Then his face twisted as 

he said: 

"No, I hain't got one. Maria won't 
let me. Says it's all nonsense to pay 
twenty dollars fer a hunk o' glass." 

I said; "Are you afraid — really 
afraid ?" 

He licked his parched lips. He darted 
a look back at his wife, her narrow face 
alive with a vulpine ferocity. 

"I'll say I'm afeared," he husked. 
"Maria wants fer me to git killed. That's 
why she won't give me no money fer to 
pay up. She wants 'em to hex me." 

The farmer produced a flask from his 
hip pocket and held it out. The liquor 
was the vilest of rot-gut, but its raw 
scorching against the walls of my stomach 
gave me a synthetic courage that I badly 
needed. I took two drinks, long ones. 

It was late, long after midnight. Paave 
came, proffering beds, but I declined for 
Helen and myself. This was one night 
that I didn't dare close my eyes. The 
Leadbetters, however, accepted and de- 
parted to leave Helen and me alone in the 
small sitting room. 

She stretched out on a couch while I 
pulled a big chair up to her side. Hands 

linked, we listened to the buzz of excite- 
ment now dying away in the village. The 
place seemed to be quieting down. Yet I 
couldn't relax. Visions of terror rocketed 
through my brain. Thornton's face with 
the grinning white teeth — the demoniacal 
power that radiated from that patriarch 
of sin, Hans Ludlam — our four friends 
gone where, suffering what, God only 

We two had so far escaped. But would 
they leave us in peace now? Was Paave 
himself the boss of the hexers, and had 
he brought us under his roof to make the 
rest of it easy to arrange ? Minutes 
dragged into eternities while terror sat 
the night watches with me. 


Love Of The Damned 

T DON'T know when it was that I closed 
■*- my eyes and allowed slumber to over- 
take me — that night of all nights when 
with hell meshing closer I should have 
fought off the demons of weariness and 
kept awake at no matter what cost. 

Then presently I was conscious again, 
lying sprawled in a stupor of half waking, 
half sleeping. The moon was higher now, 
spilling a rectangle of misty light through 
a window. I watched it, trying to focus 
my thoughts. The picture of those two 
dead men, the circle of paper dolls, the 
elfin forms of the dancing girls in the 
woods. . . . Was I mad or had uncanny 
and supernatural things really been taking 
place around me tonight ? 

My eyes slid away from the spot of 
light in the effort to shake off those be- 
wildering thoughts. They moved toward 
the window and there they stopped. My 
breath caught in my lungs. A strange in- 
credulous terror prickled me with icy 
needlings. There in the moonlight was 
the girl ! She wore only the same diapha- 
nous scarf about her lithe hips and her 

Arms of the Flame Goddess 


hair was a tossed mass of gold above the 
ivory mask of her face. Her eyes, deep 
with that knowledge of unnamable, time- 
less things, clung fixedly to mine. For a 
second she stood there in suddenly ar- 
rested motion and then she was gliding 
toward me. 

She halted at the side of the chair, 
stooping over me, and her perfect body 
was an alabaster white statute sculptured 
from moonlight. Her hands reached down 
to glide over my face. Cool firm fingers 
Stroked my temples. 

There was a tingling passion in the 
touch of those fingertips that thrilled me 
over my whole body. She smiled, slowly, 
languorously ; her voice came like an echo 
from far away. What she was whispering 
I couldn't tell, but the cadence of her 
voice vibrated answering strings in my 
brain. Half conscious, half stupified, I 
groped to seize those pale hands and 
crush them against my lips. 

She trilled a laugh and moved swiftly 
out of my reach. Then I was conscious 
of rising to my feet and stumbling toward 
her. My throat seemed to be bursting with 
the hammering of my heart which had 
flown up to lodge there. And the fear 
that gripped me sprang from my knowl- 
edge that it had happened to me now, 
as it had to those others. Having be- 
witched me with longing for her beauty, 
she came to claim me, to make me an- 
other one of her victims. 

And yet for all that terror, I was glad 
with a fiercely reckless exulting that dried 
my mouth and brought sweat to the palms 
of my hands. I was a damned soul, cursed 
by her beauty to follow her to my death in 
the fire, yet the blood hissed on my ear 
drums as I mumbled wildly : 

"Wait for me. I'm coming. I'm com- 
ing !" 

I rushed another step toward her. She 
pirouetted away and stood in the moon- 
light close to the window. She waited 
there, smiling. She lifted her breasts in 

her cupped hands and held them toward 
me, a maddening offering. 

I started to run to her, and then some 
deep-buried and almost forgotten memory 
prompted me to halt and direct a glance 
toward the couch where Helen had been. 
One faint tugging of loyalty to her, still 
alive in the quicksand that was sucking 
me down ! 

Again I looked and a cry broke from 
my lungs. She wasn't there. Helen was 
gone. While I had forgotten her in swin- 
ish sleep, they had come and taken her. 

For an instant longer I stood there 
transfixed, while grief-stricken terror 
rolled over me in a flood that made me 
oblivious to the girl and her temptmgs. 
I turned my back on her and rushed out 
of the room. Through the house I went 
storming, shouting Helen's name. Only 
echoes beat my cries back to me, for she 
wasn't there. Paave, the Leadbetters — no 
one was in the house. 

At last I found myself out of doors. I 
must have been half demented, for the 
triangles of the hills hunched over me like 
squatting beasts and the wind from their 
caves brought voices of night and bottom- 
less sin. I stood there alone with the 
stars and my agony. 

A ND then at last I was aware of the girl 
again. She stood near me, swaying 
slightly, a wind-blown lily against the 
dark, waiting and beckoning. 

Her call surged over me once more 
with a longing that obliterated all other 
thoughts. Fires swept through my parched 
throat and filled my brain. I dashed after 
her, arms straining. God forgive me, with 
my wife carried away to torture and 
death, I raced after that naked woman 
and choked cries burst from me, implor- 
ing her to come to me, to wait till I could 
catch up. 

She didn't pause. She ran scarcely 
seeming to touch the ground with her 
twinkling white feet. By deserted back 


Dime Mystery Magazine 

roads she led me out of the village. And 
now she had turned into another narrow 
way into the woods. Down this she sped, 
whirling, spinning, gyrating, her nude 
body like a woodland sylph in the moon- 

No words can possibly portray the 
weird, uncanny loveliness of that spec- 
tacle. Her slim white body against the 
dark boles of the pines; her blood-red 
hair spreading and billowing till it seemed 
an aureole of fire against which her torso 
and limbs stood outlined in gleaming 
ivory. Then suddenly she vanished— 
rather she seemed to turn wholly into a 
flame, for her body disappeared and there 
was only a fire, an errant pointed flame 
that flitted in ghostly dippings against 
the black tree trunks. 

Whether that fire was human or ani- 
mal, material or only a hallucination of 
my maddened brain, I didn't know. It was 
a will-o'-the-wisp that led me sweating 
and panting through bogs and across fall- 
en trees, gasping incoherent cries while I 
fought to get near enough to clutch its 
flickerings into my arms. Stark terror 
twisted my soul, but I couldn't help my- 
self. Honor, my duty to Helen, my love 
for her, all seemed windy words without 
meaning. The only thing that mattered 
was that leaping, gyrating figure of pas- 
sion incarnate — passion whose attainment 
would bring my death as Thornton had 
died. . . . 

Suddenly the girl vanished completely, 
blotted out as though by a veil of envel- 
oping gloom. And the fire, too. I came 
to a sudden standstill and stood breathless, 
staring while my figure went rigid as 

As my eyes focused to take in my sur- 
roundings, I became aware that I stood at 
one side of an open space among tower- 
ing trees. The area was half filled with 
raggedly clad figures— -some in Mexican 
costumes — clutching whips. The flames 
of a bonfire in the midst of the circle 

etched their faces in crimson and black, 
countenances inhuman in fanatical cruelty. 
They could have been imps of hell cavort- 
ing around a furnace-mouth in its infernal 
depths ! 

But those furies weren't alone there. 
My horrified eyes counted other faces — 
Bradshaw and Mary, Nathalie Thornton. 
And Helen. . . . Brad and his wife and 
Nathalie they had stripped naked and tied 
to stakes. The Penitentes pranced around 
them in a march, bearing whips pointed 
with steel barbs. They whooped in glee 
as they laid on the flagellations. Garment 
by garment they ripped off their own 
clothes till they were stark naked. They 
lashed themselves, too. They leaped high 
in the air at the pain, grotesque, plunging 
figures that seemed to have been whelped 
from earth's hidden horrors. 

The rout grew frenetic. Their shrieks 
held wild ecstasy of devotees approaching 
ultimate frenzy of pain-rapture. I tried to 
identify some of the faces, for I told my- 
self that if ever I got out of this alive, I 
would invoke the help of the Governor to 
wipe out this unspeakable cult. In the 
uncertain firelight, I couldn't be sure. Of 
only one individual was I positive, of a 
huge white bearded form that I suddenly 
spied standing behind a screen of bushes 
and watching proceedings — Hans Lud- 

TITY hand groped over the ground, seek- 
A ing a club. If I could find a weapon 
and creep around in the rear of this Satan, 
I would strike one blow to bring an end 
to his racket with the dashing out of his 

I hadn't crawled more than a few steps 
in my search when I froze to crouch star- 
ing into the circle. A curse sprang to my 
lips. For they had taken Helen down 
from her stake and brought her into the 
ring. She was still clothed and for an in- 
stant they contented themselves with dis- 
robing her. I had to kneel there, helpless, 

Arms of the Flame Goddess 


and watch that ! Fingers hooked into the 
neck of her dress. A rip shredded it to 
the waist, bringing her white shoulders 
and arms into view. Then they went after 
her underclothes. In a moment it was all 
over. Before those gibbering satyrs she 
stood utterly nude. 

They fell in behind her and drove her 
around and around while their whips rose 
and fell. Crooked red fingers leaped in 
zigzaggings over her skin. Her face in 
the firelight was a twisted white cameo 
chiseled from torture. 

I felt every one of those whip strokes 
as though it were falling on my naked 
skin. I cursed in meaningless snarlings, 
my fingers clawed at the ground as I went 
scrambling on all fours, still in search of 
a club. I stopped to spin around as 
Helen's moans rang again. Some one had 
brought a bridle and jammed the steel 
bar between her teeth. They forced her 
down on her hands and knees and they 
were driving her like a horse. Flogging 
her and sawing the reins till the foam on 
her lips dripped crimson. 

I lunged up to my feet and the yell that 
burst from my throat was a sound wholly 
animal. I hadn't been able to find any 
weapon. But I couldn't wait any longer. 
The way I felt then I could tear them all 
limb from limb with my naked hands. 

I surged a step forward and then to a 
standstill again at an incredible sight. 
The gang had suddenly wheeled from 
Helen to flock in a group around Nathalie, 
still tied to her high stake. Exactly what 
happened — whether they did anything at 
all to her or not — I couldn't tell. But sud- 
denly her body seemed to burst into flame, 
a spurting glare of yellowish-pink light. 
It was an outlashing of heat terrific in its 
intensity, for it sent the crowd spilling 
backward and even there where I stood I 
could feel its torrid wave in my eyes. 

The fire went out as swiftly as it had 
come. It had been, in fact, more of an 
explosion than a flame. As it ebbed away, 
I saw Nathalie's body glowing all over 
red as a great coal drawn from a furnace. 
Swiftly it cooled to a black cinder. It 
twisted in spasmodic convulsions of mus- 
cular reflexes. 

I stood there spellbound while goose- 
flesh of an unspeakable horror rolled on 
my spine. In my smug assurance of twelve 
hours before, I had mocked at witchcraft 
and all its works. But now I had stood 
and watched that girl burned to death 
when no fire was within yards of her. 
What hope did I have, what hope could 
there ever be, of saving Helen from those 
who killed with a power that could only 
be evoked from hell ? 

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Dime Mystery Magazine 

The knot of forms moved rapidly to 
stand before Bradshaw. And while he 
writhed and screamed in his ropes, the 
same thing took place again. And then 
there were two blackened things, gro- 
tesque and curled-up as foetuses snatched 
in untimely birth that crackled with thin 
gritting noises as they swayed in the 

Mary Bradshaw was next. One of the 
Penitentes seemed to throw something in- 
visible toward her. The light sprang in a 
blinding surge and then the breeze 
brought the stench of roasting meat. 

AH this time I hadn't moved. Sheer fas- 
cination of horror rooted me to the 
ground. And then came the thing which 
blew the fuse in my brain. As in a moving 
picture of doom, I saw them seizing 
Helen and dragging her toward another 
stake, as yet untenanted. Their shouts 

"The next ! She is the next ! The fire- 
god wants a new bride !" 

I saw them hustle her up there, tie her 
by her uplifted arms to the vertical shaft. 
Saw her white nudeness against the pines, 
her eyes upturned to her Maker, while 
before her the pack stood motionless, wait- 

Damnation's Picnic 

I HAD no weapon of any kind, only my 
naked hands, as I smashed through the 
undergrowth into the open. Neither had 
I any real hope of fighting off that mob 
single handed and rescuing her. I was 
only a berserker primate who had slid 
backward ten milleniums in evolution in 
as many seconds, in whose brain just one 
red emotion surged— to get to her side 
and gouge and rip and tear, to kill as 
many of them as a man, fighting by the 
side of his woman, may kill before he him- 
self dies. 

It was the fury of my unexpected on- 

slaught that took them off balance and 
scattered them for an instant. I fell upon 
the ring from behind and I had dropped 
four of them with smashes to the nerve- 
centers of their necks before they were 
aware of my presence. Two who halted 
to spin around at me I felled with club- 
bings that broke their jaws. And then I 
was through and running to Helen. 

I had got out my pocket knife as I ran. 
I had thought to cut her down, at least 
get her away from that stake where death 
leaped out of nothing. But there wasn't 
time. They came swarming over me, drag- 
ging me back. Pinned inside of a ring, I 
lashed at them with loathing of terror 
giving me a maniac's strength. I used my 
fists and my feet on them, then my finger- 
nails and my teeth. And suddenly then 
the ring parted to let through another 

I saw a leather-brown face, contorted 
and foam-spattered, with glaring black 
eyes of a maniac. Long hair tossing 
against the stars told me that I had to do 
with a woman. But no qualms of chivalry 
need have kept me from slugging her, for 
she fought with the ferocity of a she- 

With a screech she flung herself on me. 
Her hands, equipped with fanged claws, 
lashed at my face. Long dirt-clogged nails 
dug into my eyeballs. Horror-thrilled, I 
recoiled from her fury. Such a face as 
hers could have been whelped from no 
mortal mother, only from womb of 
witches and midnight hags. 

Some one tripped me with a kick from 
behind and I was down. She caterwauled 
and came flying knees first, medusa locks 
streaming. I retched with nausea at the 
smash in my vitals while she knelt there 
ripping and scratching. 

She was killing nie, tearing my face 
into ribbons. Needled by pain, my hand ' 
lashed out. It caught her in the front of 
her dress, rending it to the waist and bear- 
ing her withered brown breasts. I jolted 

Arms of the Flame Goddess 


another blow to her face as I got my 
breath and lunged up to sitting. She 
yowled like a rabid cat and drove her 
thumbs into my eyeballs. All compunction 
swept away now; I drove out a short jab 
that took her flush on her scrawny throat. 
She slumped onto hands and knees, gag- 
ging, her larnyx shattered. 

Somewhere in the maelstrom that 
seethed around me, Helen screamed. I 
gathered myself for a leap back to my 
feet, but the mob surged in and their clubs 
beat me down again. I was crawling on 
hands and knees while their whips found 
me. Helen sobbed again and the sound of 
that tortured wailing seemed to burst 
something inside of me. God, I had to 
get to my feet and go to her, before there 
came another puff of that pink fire and her 
body swung there, a blackened pendulum. 

But I couldn't rise, they were too many 
for me. I clenched my teeth through 
bleeding lips and dug my fingers into the 
ground as I clawed myself forward. 

Suddenly I stumbled over something 
that impeded my progress. It was a 
wooden box half filled with a greyish 
powder. In frenzy I snatched it up and 
whirled to throw its contents over my 
shoulder into the faces and eyes of my 

It blinded them for an instant and as 
they stumbled back, I attained my objec- 
tive, the edge of the bonfire. Long heavy 
sticks, only partially burned, projected 
around its rim. I snatched up one of them 
and with the thing in my hands I leaped 
to my feet. 

Armed now, I rushed at them. With the 
blazing end of the brand I belabored their 
bodies and faces. And suddenly some- 
thing took place which caused me to let 
fall the stick and stand gaping in amaze- 

"W7HERE sparks flew from the stick to 

light upon the irregular patches in 

which the powder had landed on the men 

and adhered, there burst out those ex- 
plosions of incredible heat. 

Some with faces half burned away, 
others with cindered cavities where eyes 
had been, still others wearing jagged 
black shawls draped over their chests, 
they shrank from me to throw themselves 
on the ground and lie rolling and shriek- 
ing in agony. The foul horrible smell of 
burning flesh filled my nostrils, and a 
fierce tumultous joy swept me. At last 
my friends were being avenged. I left 
them yammering there and stumbled 
around to the stake from which Helen's 
choked screams were coming. 

I didn't wait to get out my knife. With 
bare hands I wrenched at the cords that 
pinioned her crossed wrists. They parted 
and her limp figure came tumbling down 
into my arms. I clutched her in the crook 
of one arm and wheeled back to face the 
pack. For I hadn't disposed of all of them. 
There were still enough of them left to 
do their will on us. Teeth bared like an 
ape, I gripped the end of my club and 
stood waiting. 

They didn't come. And when my 
blurred vision cleared so that I could see 
again, I stared transfixed with amaze- 
ment. For another battle was in progress 
there now. A second group of men armed 
with long flails had come dashing out of 
the trees. They fell upon those of the tor- 
turers whom I hadn't disposed of and 
were engaged in bashing their brains in 
with their six-foot wagon stakes. The 
leader of the new-comers was the white- 
bearded boss of the Penitentes, Hans Lud- 
lam ! And at his side, bellowing ven- 
geance, stormed lawyer Emery Paave. 

A sound of sobbing brought my eyes 
back to Helen. She hung limp in my 
clasp. Her eyes lifted to meet mine, but 
she didn't recognize me. Through the 
blood-flecked foam on her lips she was 
moaning dull, toneless screams, over and 
over and over. I groaned with agony 
drawn from my own tortured soul. Fast 


Dime Mystery Magazine 

as I had tried to come, it hadn't been 
soon enough. The pain and terror had 
been too much for her gentle mind. She 
had gone mad. 

I was still holding her crushed to me, 
kissing her poor twisted face and begging 
her to speak, when feet sounded at my 
side. The fight was over. Paave and 
Ludlam paused an instant and then with- 
out speaking strode forward to shaft the 
light of a lantern into the face of the 
woman I had hit in the throat and of the 
man lying next to her, his face half oblit- 
erated by the strange burning. The revela- 
tion of their features didn't tell me any- 
thing new. For already I had divined that 
they were Frank Leadbetter and his wife. 

"It was those two who was doing it," 
Paave's voice rumbled at last. "They was 
the ones who have been collecting twenty 
dollars for buttons from eferyone on pain 
of hexing and death. They fixed up t'ings 
to make it look like de Penitentes, so that 
Ludlam would get the blame. I myself 
thought he was doing it— till he came to 
me an hour ago and asked for my help. 
Their men with whips was all fakes. 
Those men you saw in the woods the first 
time was some of theirs. Ludlam and his 
people never hurt anyone. They yust 
whipped one another and minded their 
own business. The Leadbetters did not 
want you here because they knew that 
sooner or later it would mean the end of 
their business. They must have collected 
thousands of dollars. They must have 
been terrible rich." 

T STARED at him and even now that 
•*■ I understood I was cold with the 
horror of it all. What a racket ! And one 
possible only in a community whose mem- 
bers believed so implicitly in the power of 
witchcraft that they never questioned the 
genuineness of the things that seemed to 
be taking place. 

"And the girl who led the men into the 
woods to their deaths ?" I said at last. 

"She wass my little Ella, my niece who 
keeps house for me," the big Dutchman 
groaned. "I did not know ft, I had no sus- 
picions. The Leadbetter woman got her 
to do that, she must haf given her money 
— and drugs. Many times I haf seen her 
acting not herself and I haf wondered 
what iss wrong. Those other girls that 
you saw from the house, dancing, are 
probably more that she used in the same 

"The men on whom the Leadbetters put 
the sign of the dancing dolls — without the 
victims knowing it, some of their men 
must have got them to eat or drink some- 
thing containing a drug that made them 
insanely sex-hungry," Ludlam went on as 
Paave halted, overcome by grief. "And 
then when the naked girls came, they 
could not help themselves, the instinct was 
too strong. They would follow them any- 
where, even to death, believing all the time 
that they had been bewitched !" 

"Leadbetter gave me a drink of whiskey 
in your house, Paave," I exclaimed, "That 
was how he got me. And the first time, 
back at the house, it was in the food. 
When I thought that I saw the girls turn- 
ing into flames, it was hallucinations 
brought on by the drug." 

"When the girl came to you, you could 
not help from following her," Ludlam 
said. "But when you arrived at the place 
where they were torturing your wife, you 
came to your senses. The drug had not 
been strong enough." 

The big man took a turn up and down. 

"But what I do not yet understand," 
he muttered after a moment, "is how they 
did it with the burning. How one could 
be burned without any fire." 

"I can explain that now," I said. I re- 
membered the box of grey powder which I 
had hurled into the men's faces and which 
had later burst into flame. "There is a 
certain chemical — thermite — which can be 
ignited with a match and burns with a 
terrifically hot fire, hot enough to melt 

Arms of the Flame Goddess 


iron. It is used for welding together 
broken pieces of metal. If this thermite 
were mixed with a little grease to make it 
adhere, and the paste smeared over a per- 
son's body, it could be set going with just 
a match and he would roast to a crisp in 
five seconds." 

Paave and Ludlam both stared at me, 

"Then that is the way it was done," 
came the deep voice of the bearded giant. 
"In some way, Leadbetter, ignorant as he 
was, learned of that chemical and got a 
supply of it. Those men you saw in the 
woods had already spread the body of the 
self-flogging one with it before he started 
whipping himself. During the few mo- 
ments when he was out of your sight, they 
set him on fire and then placed the circle 
of paper dolls around his body. The man 
who died in your house — " 

"Leadbetter did that himself!" I ex- 
claimed. "He must have got Thornton up 
stairs alone, knocked him senseless with a 
club and then in only a few seconds, 
spread the stuff over his head and touched 
it off." 

For another long moment nobody 
spoke. Now that we knew the truth of 
the horrors, it didn't seem to make them 
any less dreadful, rather more soul-sicken- 

ing. And the sight of Helen's nude body, 
dribbling blood while those meaningless 
noises rasped from her throat. 

T PICKED her up in my arms and car- 
*■ ried her out of there while the two big 
men were tieing up the Leadbetters who 
by this time had recovered consciousness. 
Buggies were waiting in the highway at 
the end of the wood road. Some one 
brought blankets to wrap around Helen 
and we started the twenty mile drive to 
the nearest town where there was a doc- 

It was noon of the next day before I 
finally got her into a hospital. She was 
there for two months before she knew me 
again and they said it would be better for 
her to go away somewhere with me. 

That was two years ago. There wasn't 
any oil on our property in Monmouth 
Valley. I sold the timber right to a syn- 
dicate and tried to forget it all. Little by 
little, those memories are fading from 
Helen, too. But when the flame of a 
lighted match suddenly spurting in her 
eyes sends her to fly shivering into my 
arms, I know that she is seeing again the 
form of Nathalie Thornton bursting into 
red fire — and hearing the croon of whips 
hissing against her naked skin. 



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Because his namesake had violated the laws of God and man, in a long- 
dead century, John Bartlett had to die — betrayed by the girl who loved 


THE FOG was growing thicker, 
dimming the rays of the headlights 
into a sickly yellow that didn't show 
more than five feet of the muddy road 
ahead of the car wheels. Spawned by 
the river bottoms, the heavy grey vapor 
coiled about us like the miasmic breath of 
a monster from another world. My teeth 
were pressed tightly together to keep them 
from chattering. Then a spasm shook me 
and I trembled so violently that the car 
almost swung into the ditch that bordered 
the road. By main strength I pulled it 
back, glanced at Chloe who sat beside me. 
She had not noticed. She was leaning 
forward with a strange, intent look on her 
lovely face. Her eyes were wide and 
dark. Her nostrils flared slightly, as if 
she were waiting for something to appear 
out of the writhing mist and she didn't 
know what it might be. 

Don't misunderstand me. It wasn't 
fear that made my palms slippery with 
sweat, made my muscles jump uncontrol- 
lably ... or was it? Sometimes you 
can't distinguish between cause and effect. 
At least, I hadn't felt anything like fear 
when we left Boston two days before. 
I had been gay, excited then, and Chloe 
had been even more so. The trip down 
to South Carolina was to be a fore-taste 
of our honeymoon. She hadn't been home 
in over ten years. After her parents' death 
she had been sent up North by her uncle 
and had stayed there. When we had writ- 
ten to him, announcing our marriage 
plans, and he had invited us to come 

Chains of Dread Desire 


down and stay at the old Duquesne home, 
it had seemed like a wonderful idea. I 
wanted a chance to meet this last remain- 
ing relative of hers, see the place where 
she had been born. 

Then, that morning, just coming into 
South Carolina, this feeling had come over 
me. A dull heaviness. A sense of fore- 
boding. A cold chill would sweep over 
me and I would have to knot my muscles 
to keep from trembling. A touch of fever, 
you say, born of the damp, low lying land 
through which we were driving? Per- 
haps, but it was more like the sudden, 
unaccountable prickling that contracts 
your skin when you say you felt as if 
someone had walked over your grave. 

T SAID nothing to Chloe about the 
-*■ strange, leaden feeling in my heart. 
Somehow she seemed to have changed 
from the girl I had known in Boston. She 
had lost her clipped, finishing school dic- 
tion. Her speech had become soft and 
slurring. She was sinking back into her 
heritage of the deep South, making me 
feel like an invader, an intruder. 

I glanced sideways at her. She was still 
staring ahead as if she could see through 
the fog wreathed darkness. Her nostrils 
were distended as if she were filling her 
lungs with the dank odor of rotting 
vegetation. I knew we were close to her 
old home. She had said it was only 
twelve miles from the last town, yet 
when she suddenly sat erect, put her 
hand on my arm and said, "Wait !" I 

It was she who pulled on the brake, 
switched off the motor. Her eyes were 
glowing queerly. 

"What ... ?" I began. Then I heard 
it, a strange murmuring chant sounding 
through the murk. I couldn't get the 
words but I didn't need to. It was filled 
with hopelessness and despair, yet it 
seethed with an under-level of hate. It 
was primitive, abysmal, yet I knew it was 

a part of this land to which I was for- 

With a quick movement, Chloe pushed 
open the door. 

"Wait there," she called over her shoul- 
der, then she had run across the road 
and disappeared into the swirling dark- 
ness. I continued to sit there for a split 
second, open-mouthed. Where had she 
gone? Why? With a curse, I threw 
open my door, leaped out also. 

"Chloe!" I called. "Chloe!" No sound 
but the low throbbing of the chant an- 
swered me. I leaped the ditch beside the" 
road, started to run stumbling through 
the darkness. Tough grasses twisted 
around my ankles. Branches slapped 
damply across my face. The chant was 
growing louder now. It swelled up to 
a chorus of misery, then ceased, and in 
the flat silence that followed I heard a 
sound that brought me up short, heart 
pounding. It was a faint, choked moan- 
ing, and clank of heavy chains, the crack 
of a whip. 

I stood there, waiting, listening, the 
short hairs prickling up the back of my 
neck. The dim, eerie glow of a lantern 
appeared about forty feet ahead of me. 
It was held by a man, a white man. I 
could not see his face, a broad-brimmed 
hat shadowed it, but his costume was that 
worn three centuries ago ! 

I gaped at the high leather jack-boots, 
the long-tailed, brass-buttoned coat. In- 
voluntarily I closed my eyes, tried to 
steady my quivering nerves. When I 
looked again, he was still there and plod- 
ding slowly before him, silhouetted against 
the faint glow of his lantern, flogged on- 
ward by the whip in his hand, was a file 
of black figures with chains linking their 
necks together. 

I tried to move but I could not. Con- 
victs, I told myself, a road gang . . . 
yet I knew they weren't. There were 
women in that fetter-yoked column and 
they don't put women on chain gangs. 


Dime Mystery Magazine 

Besides, what trick of dim light and shift- 
ing fog could make those figures seem to 
glow with a faint phosphorescent radi- 
ance? Those were slaves I saw being 
led to the auction block by a beast in 
human form . . . and there are no more 
slaves in America ! 

A curt order and the clanking, heavily 
plodding shapes halted. Opposite the lan- 
tern now was a young, slim negress. 
She was naked except for a loin cloth. 
I could see the profile of her small, erect 
breasts ; the burnished gleam of her cop- 
pery thighs. The lantern lifted slightly, 
illuminating her face, and I gasped. Call 
me mad, but I tell you she looked like 

/^HLOE'S skin is a warm ivory. That 
^ of the almost nude girl was bronze. 
Yet even with the wide metal collar 
around her neck, the heavy chain linking 
her to the shadowy shapes before and 
behind her, she carried herself as Chloe 
did. There was the same tilt to her head, 
the same half shy, half seductive twist 
to her full lips. The man with the lantern 
put out his hand, ran it slowly down 
over the swell of her breasts. I still could 
not see his face, but I could sense his lust 
in the tenseness of his body. The girl 
half turned, her body swayed toward 
him, and then she was locked in his em- 

A faint stir rippled along the line of 
chain-linked . blacks. Slowly, stealthily 
they began to move. The two ends of the 
line swung outward, then together so 
that they had formed a circle with the 
man and the girl in the center. One 
end of the line dipped under the other, 
continued to move outward, so that there 
was now a loop in the center of the heavy 
chain. It began to get smaller, drew 
tighter. Then as she pulled her lips 
away, dropped her head down, the lethal 
links passed harmlessly over her, and 
tightened crushingly around his neck! 

He screamed once, tried to pull away, 
but with wild, animal laughter, the girl 
held him. A score of black bodies bent, 
lunged in opposite directions. The lan- 
tern fell, went out. Then, as fog-laced 
blackness blotted out that hellish scene 
of primitive vengeance, as the man's 
screams died away into a choking, bub- 
bling sound, I heard his bones crunching 
under the constricting pressure of the 
tightening chain ! 

A moment longer I stood there, my 
body cold with the sweat of terror, my 
stomach churning. The girl's shrill, tri- 
umphant laughter still rang in my ears. 
Then, almost unconsciously, I ran for- 

"Stop !" I screamed. "In God's name 
..." Water splashed around my feet. 
There was a deep ditch between me and 
those ghostly figures. I turned to the 
right, ran along its bank. My feet struck 
a plank. By the way it lay, it must 
bridge the ditch. I ran across its swaying 
length toward the spot where I had just 
witnessed that soul-shaking scene. AH 
was silence. The only moving thing was 
the curtain of the swamp born fog. Some- 
how I knew that what I had seen was not 
murder but retribution ; that if ever a 
man deserved to die it was that cadaverous 
figure in mouldering antique garb. Yet I 
could not help myself. He was white, 
they were black and . . . 

Something hard and round rolled un- 
der my foot. I went down on the clammy 
clay. I sprawled full length for the space 
of a heart beat, listening. Still nothing. 
If those spectral figures had really been 
there, if I had not imagined them, they 
were gone now. With a trembling hand 
I struck a match. A skull leered sight- 
lessly at me from the muck. That had 
been what I stumbled over. Beside it was 
an ancient, crazily leaning tombstone. 
By the feeble match glow I could make 
out the almost obliterated name on it. 

It said . . , John Bartlett! 

Chain* of Dread Desire 


My scream was the despairing wail 
of a lost soul. You see nothing terrible 
in that ? My name is John Bartlett. 

TNSTINCT led me back to the plank, 


across it and up to the road. I did 

not run. I plodded slowly, mechanically 
like a man in a nightmare of doom. Chloe 
was standing beside the car when I 
reached it. She was so excited she did 
not notice my condition, 

"That chant — it's an old tribal one," 
she explained. "Only our field hands 
sing it. When I heard it, I just had to 
run out and see them." 

Had she seen them? Had she seen 
what I had ? Had even / seen it actually 
or was it the ghostly re-enactment of 
some scene from the abysses of the past ? 
I did not know and I did not ask. What- 
ever else might have been illusory, that 
tombstone with my name on it had been 
real. That and the sickening dread which 
now filled my being. I might be feverish. 
I probably was. But now I knew that I 
could not attribute to fever alone the 
terror that had gripped me as we drew 
near to Chloe's ancestral home. 

I started the car and under her direc- 
tion went on down the road and turned 
in at a driveway. I stopped when the 
tall white pillars of the house appeared 
in the watery glow of the headlights. 
I got an impression of a huge, rambling 
structure looming over us, lowering at 
us with the sightless eyes of dark win- 
dows. Then the door opened and three 
figures stood there, silhouetted against 
the lamplight from within. 

One was a white man, Chloe's Uncle 
Walter. He was tall, spare, dressed in 
dark broadcloth. She got out of the car, 
ran to embrace him. I got out more slow- 
ly, looking at the two who stood behind 
him. Chloe had told me about them. 
They were the Negro servants, Stephen 
the butler and Mammy Mallie, his wife. 
They were no longer young but Stephen 

carried his grizzled white head erect, his 
huge body was still powerful and Mammy 
Mallie's shapeless body and lined black 
face yet showed signs of an earlier beauty. 

I shook Walter Duquesne's hand. 

"So this is John," he said to Chloe. 
His narrow, dark eyes searched my face 
and I could also feel the impact of the 
two Negroes' stares. "I'm very happy to 
meet you. I know you've had your sup- 
per but we must have a drink together." 

He gave instructions to Stephen about 
taking care of our bags and Chloe and 
I followed him into the house. It had a 
dank, musty smell as if the sun never 
penetrated the heavy drapes that covered 
the windows. He led us into a large 
room whose darkness the lamp he carried 
could only partially lessen. I sat in a 
moth-eaten chair while Chloe flitted about 
the room examining this piece of furni- 
ture, remembering that one. Then she 
ran out into the hall and up the stairs 
to look at our rooms, leaving me alone 
with her uncle. 

I was sitting with every muscle locked 
tight to keep the tremors that rippled 
through my body from showing, yet I was 
filled with a hopelessness that did not per- 
mit me to stir from that dark and gloomy 
house. He glanced at me curiously. 

"Aren't you feeling well?" 

I had to bite my lips to keep from 
screaming with mad laughter. Feeling 
well after . . . 

"A bit chilled," I managed to get out. 
He came over, felt my head. His hand 
felt hot, dry. 

"Hmm. Probably a touch of swamp 
fever. I could give you some quinine but 
it's best not to take it at night. A drink's 
what you need. That and a good night's 

I nodded, hardly listening to what he 
said. A thousand questions were trem- 
bling on my lips. Questions about what 
I had seen, about the graveyard, about 
the tombstone with my name on it. I 


Dime Mystery Magazine 

moistened my lips, then froze. Faintly 
there came to my ears that throbbing 
chant, that wailing hymn of despair and 
hate that I had heard the spectral slave 
shapes sing but a short time before. 

I must have blanched for Duquesne 
gave me an odd look. 

"Nothing to be afraid of. Just the field 
hands down in their quarters singing an 
old slave song." 

I glanced at my wristwatch. Eleven- 
thirty. "At this hour?" 

He shrugged. "I've known Negroes 
all my life and I still don't pretend to 
understand them." He took a step toward 
me. "They knew you were coming to- 
night when I was sure you wouldn't get 
here till tomorrow. And Stephen has 
told me other things about you that you 
may not even know yourself." 

"What . . . what things " I didn't 
want to ask, the words slipped out of 
their own accord. 

"You come of Boston stock, seafaring 
folk." I nodded. "Did you know that 
one of your ancestors was a slaver?" 

A slaver? One of those who traded 
in human flesh, captured blacks in Africa 
and sold them here like cattle ? 

"No," I whispered. "No." And yet 
. . . there was a gap in our geneology. 
There was a great-grandfather whose 
name I did not even know. 

He nodded. "They say so. They even 
know the name of his ship. I can't re- 
member it, but ..." 

"It was the Monadnock" said a deep, 
booming voice. I turned. It was Stephen, 
the butler, who spoke. He set down a 
tray with glasses and bottles on it. 

"How . . . how do you know?" I asked 

"My ancestors were brought over from 
Guinea on it," he said slowly. "They 
were kings there. Here they became 
slaves. But that was John Bartlett's last 

** peated thickly. 

"The slaver's name was the same as 
yours. It is said he died here. It is said 
he is buried in the cemetery on the other 
side of the compound. And it is said ..." 

"Stephen!" A voice hissed out of the 
darkness of the hall. Slowly I swung 
around. Mammy Mallie. I could just 
make out her face, her eyes that were 
filled with hate. Stephen bowed his griz- 
zled head. 

"Good night," he said softly to us and 
followed his wife out into the darkness. 

John Bartlett . . . died here . . . Was 
it possible that what I had seen, or thought 
I had seen but a short time before, was 
an atavistic memory, a warning or a 
promise of . . . ? 

"Here," said Duquesne. "You look as 
if you could use this." 

He handed me a stiff drink of Bour- 
bon. My hands were shaking so that I 
spilled some, but I gulped it down. I 
could feel it spreading through my vitals, 
but there was an icy lump in my chest 
it could not reach. 

"Let me have another," I rasped, hold- 
ing out my glass. 

"And one for me," said Chloe, coming 
in from the hall. 

"Whiskey isn't a lady's drink," said 
her uncle reprovingly. He filled my glass 
again, poured out some port for her. 

"Whiskey's not for ladies?" said Chloe 
merrily. "Well, it's never too late to 

Her uncle looked at her strangely, then 
at me. 

"Sometimes," he said cryptically, "it 

I tossed off my glass, not listening to 
his words, but afterwards . . . 

"By the way, uncle," said Chloe, "how 
has Stephen been lately?" 

I was starting to feel better with the 
alcohol coursing through my veins. 

"What's the matter with him?" I asked. 

Chains of Dread Desire 


"Well, when I was a child, sometimes 
we thought that ..." She tapped her 
head. "It was his daughter Louise. When 
she was about sixteen she discovered she 
was lighter than the other negroes. That 
her hair and eyes were different. And 

"She realized that she had white blood 
in her," finished Duquesne, "and she 
committed suicide. Stephen took it hard." 
He shrugged. "It may have been dormant 
in her parents' veins for generations. 
Perhaps," his eyes had a peculiar look, 
"since the time they were brought over 
to this country. It happens more often 
than you'd think, down here. A white 
child cropping up in a black family . . . 
or a black child in a white." 

"I've heard," said Chloe, "that you 
can't always tell. A girl looks white 
and ..." 

"You can tell," said her uncle, "if you 
know where to look. Certain parts of the 
body," he glanced at the bosom of Chloe's 
dress, "and the nails. If the little half 
moons at the base are dark, there's negro 
blood present." 

Chloe held up her hands, laughing. 
Her nails were covered with a bright 
red polish. 

"You could never tell with me." 

Her uncle shook his head sombrely. 
"You'd better take that polish off. Down 
here, anyone that paints their nails is 
suspected of ... " He left the sentence 

T LAY alone in the darkness of the 
•*■ strange room. . The bed was dank, 
hard. The blankets seemed to give me 
no warmth, only hold in the cold that 
stabbed me to the marrow of my bones. 
How much of the chill that gripped me 
was fever, how much was the terror that 
swept over me when Chloe had kissed 
me good-night, gone to her own room, 
I could not tell. God knows my terror 
was no longer formless now. That spec- 

tral scene in the graveyard ... it had a 
basis in fact! That tombstone with my 
name on it, or that of an ancestor. The 
underlying hate in Stephen's voice, in 
Mammy Mallie's glance. It had been my 
great-grandfather who had brought their 
ancestors here, made them slaves. And 
now . . . 

I stiffened, listening. For the third 
time that night, the eerie, wailing slave- 
chant sounded through the darkness from 
the field hands' quarters. It swelled loud- 
er, rising and falling in a slow, insistent 
rhythm. Others might hear the despair 
of a downtrodden people in it. I could 
hear only the underlying menace. I con- 
tinued to lie there for a moment, listen- 
ing, then suddenly I realized what my 
position was. I was lying on my back, 
feet close together, hands crossed on my 
chest . . . in a posture of a corpse laid out 
in a coffin! 

With a choked cry that was half sob, I 
leaped out of bed. My temples were 
throbbing, my heart pounding, my limbs 
wet with the poison dew of terror. I 
could stand no more. If I stayed one 
more hour in this gloomy house where 
my every thought led toward death, 
toward a heritage of hate and vengeance, 
I would go mad. I had to get away, far 

Barefoot, I ran across the room, opened 
the door. The corridor outside was dark. 
My hands fumbled along the dank walls, 
feeling for the door to Chloe's room. She 
must come away with me, at once. My 
fingers brushed the knob. I turned it, 
opened the door and stumbled into her 

A wan greyness that was neither light 
nor darkness filtered through the win- 
dows. By it I could make out the bed 
. . . and it was empty. My throat cord- 
ed, then I saw her. The slave-chant was 
louder on this side of the house, throb- 
bing with a soft, recurrent beat, and 
standing next to the window, her whole 


Dime Mystery Magazine 

body jerking to its primitive rhythm, 
was Chloe. She was clad only in a sheer 
nightdress. Through the thin silk I 
could see the twitching of the muscles 
in her thighs, the sway of her hips. She 
was breathing deeply, her breasts swelling 
tight against the soft fabric. Her eyes 
were half closed, her face intent. 

I went uncertainly toward her. "Chloe," 
I husked. "In God's name . . ." 

She did not turn around. "I know," 
she whispered, "but I can't help it. It 
gets into my blood, calls to me like . . ." 

My groan of abject horror cut her 
short. I was staring with wide eyes at 
her bosom. One of her hands lay across 
it. Under her fingers I could see her 
young breasts . . . and their roundness 
was circled by dark rings ! But that was 
not all. She had removed the polish 
from her nails. They showed pink in 
the ghostly light ... a// except the half 
moons at their base. They were dark 
brown too ! 

TTER eyes went down also and her 
■*•-*■ whole body seemed to turn to stone, 
then with a sobbing cry she ran out of 
the room and into the darkness of the 
corridor. I continued to stand there, eyes 
dilated, mouth open. The slave chant 
from the field hands' quarters was fading, 
but sounding in my ears was Walter 
Duquesne's words. "... more often 
than you'd think ... a black child in a 
white family . . . can tell if you know 
where to look ... if the half moons at 
the base of the nails are dark ..." 

Chloe had Negro blood in her ! I had 
sensed that she was somehow changing 
on the drive down from Boston. Her 
slurring speech, the way she had re- 
sponded to the Negroes' singing. It had 
been like calling to like! 

I had loved her. We were to be mar- 
ried. But now if we had children would 
they be white or ... A tearing sob 
racked me. I stumbled toward the door. 

I must get away. I must . . . then I 
halted again. 

Where had she gone ? When Stephen's 
daughter, Louise, had discovered that 
she was neither white nor black, she had 
taken her own life! Would Chloe . . . ? 

I started running madly down the hall. 
I must find her. A door opened ahead 
of me. A hand seized my arm. Her 

"Where are you going?" he asked. 
"What . . . ?" 

Babbling almost incoherently I told 
him. I could feel his fingers tighten. 

"You can't go out like that, barefoot," 
he said. "With your fever, you'll be 
dead by morning." He ran down the hall 
with me, fumbled in the darkness and 
opened a cupboard. "Here, put these on." 
He handed me trousers, boots, a coat. 
Hands shaking, I put them on. Somehow 
I realized that he had known, that that 
was what he had meant when he said, 
"Sometimes we learn too late." 

Then I was pounding down the stairs 
and he was calling after me, "Get the 
field hands up. I'll join you there. We'll 
find her if ... " 

Fog wreathed blackness outside. Si- 
lence except for the moisture dripping 
from the lush vegetation, the sucking 
sound of the sodden ground under my 
boot soles. The night air was cold on 
my sweat damp body. My throat was 
dry, parched. I stumbled into the narrow 
path, ran down it. The field hands. Would 
Chloe be in their quarters or would they 
know where she had fled to ? Blood call- 
ing to dark blood. Had they sensed the 
kinship? Was that why their chant had 
affected her so strangely? 

In the darkness, the darker shapes of 
their crude huts loomed up before me. 
There was something gripped in my hand, 
something Duquesne had thrust toward 
me with the clothes. A stick? No, a 
heavily loaded whip. Like a madman 
I beat on doors, windows with it. 

Chains of Dread Desire 


"Up!" I yelled. "Get up! Get up!" 

Faint sounds inside the huts, doors 
opening cautiously, glow of candles hasti- 
ly Ht. White rimmed eyes peered out at 
me, then there was a low moan. 

"Bwana!" murmured many voices. 
"Bwana tnakuba!" 

Bwana makuba? That was African, 
the Swahili dialect. It meant Master, 
Great Master. I looked down and then 
it seemed as if a skeleton hand had 
clutched my heart, crushed it in a bony 
grip. I was wearing the jackboots, the 
long skirted coat that the spectral shape 
of my ancestor had worn in the graveyard 
earlier that evening! His blood in my 
veins, his whip in my hand, his clothes 
on my back, his name my name, I was he 
reborn ! 

fX^HERE was a faint hissing sound from 
■*■ the Negroes. A sound no longer of 
superstitious dread, but of primitive and 
abysmal hate. A John Bartlett had made 
them slaves. A John Bartlett stood before 
them now. 

My muscles were jerking uncontrol- 
lably. My breath held till it seared my 
lungs. Slowly I started to back away from 
those glaring eyes. Then I turned and 

I did not know where I was fleeing. I 
only knew I had to get away. The night 
reeled past me. John Bartlett, dead three 
hundred years. John Bartlett, about to 
die. Hate that had lived for centuries. 
The cry of vengeance from the grave. My 
brain was seething in my skull. All feel- 
ing of being, all consciousness of person- 
ality streamed out with my sobbing breath. 

I stumbled over something square and 
hard, sank to one knee. Then a shrill, 
maniacal laugh bubbled from my lips. I 
was back in the cemetery! I was back 
at the grave of my ancestor, back at the 
tombstone that bore my name! 

I knelt there in the clammy clay, the 
charnel odor of death and decay in my 

nostrils, my whole body shaking with 
mad, hopeless merriment. The mist 
swirled around me, enveloping me in 
ghostly coils. It seemed to grow thicker, 
then a figure materialized out of it. Chloe. 
The lunatic laughter died on my lips. I 
stared at her. 

She was still clad only in her sheer 
nightdress. The dampness made it cling 
to the swelling curves of her body. Her 
dark hair was disheveled, her eyes glow- 
ing with a wild light and there was a 
strange smile on her lips. Somehow all 
the veneer had cracked away. She had 
slipped back a thousand years. She 
was completely pagan, animal. Her lips 
swayed as she moved toward me, ex- 
tended her arms, 

"John," she murmured softly, caressing- 
ly. I could not move, but my heart was 
beginning to thud quicker, my blood to 
pour hot through my veins. She came 
closer. I could fell the warmth of her 
body, the soft pressure of her thinly cov- 
ered breasts against my chest. 

"I . . . I've wanted you for so long," she 
whispered. "I was willing to wait until 
after we were married. But now that I 
know, there'll be no marriage. So, take 
me now!" Her lithely curving body 
surged forward against me. 

Almost unconsciously my arms went 
around her, crushing her to me. My lips 
sought hers, fastened there as if to draw 
out her very soul. Her hips swayed in, 
welding themselves to my flesh. Her pas- 
sionate abandon blotted out all else for 
me. There was only the yielding firm- 
ness of her body, her desire whipping mine 
on to animal excesses. I bent her back- 
wards . . . then froze that way, soul shak- 
ing terror congealing the blood in my 

Under the. sound of her hoarse pant- 
ing I could hear the soft jangling of heavy 
chains, of slave chains ! I lifted my head, 
looked wildly around. Black, shackle-yoked 
figures surrounded us. Hate-filled eyes 


Dime Mystery Magazine 

glared at me. Already there was a loop 
in the chain that linked the black shapes 
together and it was starting to tighten ! 

With a hoarse scream I tried to flee, but 
could not. Chloe was holding me ! She 
twisted her legs about mine, clamped my 
arms to my side and in her eyes was hate 
as black as that in the eyes of the negroes. 
Good God! She was one of them! Their 
vengeance was hers ! She had come to this 
place of death to seduce me with her body, 
hold me till they could exact the same 
blood expiation from me as. was exacted 
from my ancestor who had enslaved them ! 

With a cry of triumph, Chloe bent her 
head. The heavy loop of chain brushed 
harmlessly over her dark hair, coiled 
around my neck. And still she held me! 
She wanted to hold my body close while 
it writhed in agony, feel my hot blood 
spurt over her. The cold links tightened, 
dug into my straining flesh. I could no 
longer breathe. My mouth gaped open, my 
eyes bulged. Vaguely I could make out a 
huge shape that looked like Stephen, an- 
other figure near him in a broad brimmed 
black hat. The first John Bartlett waiting 
for me to join him? 

Blood welled up in my mouth. I could 
feel my windpipe giving, my lungs beating 
like wings of fire then .... 

"Stop!" screamed a voice. I could not 
see her, but dimly I knew it was Mammy 
Mallie. "You fool, Stephen. It's not his 
fault that Louise is dead." She waddled 
forward out of the darkness, "it's his!" and 
her finger stabbed at the lean figure in the 
broad brimmed black hat. "Walter 

"Damn you !" he snarled. "I'll 

"He was Louise's father, not you!" 
Mammy went on inexorably. "It was his 
white blood that made her take her own 
life ! He is her murderer !" 

The sound that came from Stephen's 
throat was more animal than human, 
There was a jerk that pulled me off my 
feet, then the chain loosened around my 

neck and the air I gulped seemed to sear 
my lungs. It sickened me, made the world 
reel, but even as I fell forward I saw Step- 
hen, eyes blazing, raise a length of chain 
like a ponderous flail and bring it down on 
Duquesne's head. I heard his skull crush 
like an eggshell, then darkness over- 
whelmed me. 

/""'OOL hands on my forehead, the mur- 
^* mur of soft voices. Slowly I opened 
my eyes. I was lying in bed. I blinked, 
looked around. With the sunlight stream- 
ing in the windows I hardly recognized 
my room in the Duquesne house. Stand- 
ing next to the bed were Chloe and 
Mammy Mallie. They both looked care- 
worn, exhausted. I blinked again, 

"What . . . ?" 

"You had a bad touch of swamp fever," 
said Chloe hesitantly. "We brought you in 
here from the cemetery and . . ." 

The look of horror on my face stopped 
her. I remembered now. The cemetery. 
She holding me while . . . Mammy Mallie 
pushed her aside, glowering down at me. 

"You pore white trash," she raged, 
"how dare you even think mah Chloe got 
black blood in her? This yere's what make 
her do it," and she handed me a small box 
with a white powder in it. 

"Do what?" I asked dully. 

"Act so crazy. Her uncle he put that 
in the wine he give her." 

I looked at the lettering on the box. 
Nembutal, it said. My pulses leaped. 

"Nembutal. I remember," I said ex- 
citedly. "It's a new drug they're just ex- 
perimenting with. It slows up the heart 
action. That would make the venous 
blood collect in the capillaries, especially 
in the extremities like the finger tips. It 
would turn them and most of the body 
darker. That was what . . . Oh, darling, 
can you forgive me for believing . . ." 

"I believed it also," she said quietly. 
"Uncle Walter wanted me to. When I 

Chains of Dread Desire 


ran out of my room, he was waiting for 
me. He took me into his room and talked 
to me. I was still there when you came 
after me and he gave you those clothes, 
sent you down to the field hands' quarters. 
I felt queer and somehow everything he 
said sounded reasonable." 

I nodded. "That's another action of 
nembutal. It makes the subject very sug- 
gestible, easy to influence. But you mean 
to say your uncle was behind all this?" 

"Yes," she answered. "With Mammy's 
help I pieced the whole thing together. 
When she was young and attractive, Uncle 
Walter forced her to become his mistress. 
When she discovered she was about to 
have a child, she married Stephen. 
Stephen thought the child was his and 
later, when the child, Louise, discovered 
she was part white and committed suicide, 
Stephen became a little touched. Then 
Uncle Walter heard we were coming down 
here. Counting on the fact that if you were 
of New England stock, you'd have sea- 
faring folk among your ancestors, he told 
Stephen that completely fabricated story 
about how your great-grandfather had 
brought his people over from Africa. 
Stephen believed him, believed it was your 
fictitious ancestor's blood that had cropped 
out in Louise, and that therefore you, in a 
sense, were responsible for her death." 

"And what Stephen believed, he could 
make the more ignorant field hands be- 
lieve, eh ?" I exclaimed. "Then the tomb- 

stone, the scene at the cemetery were all 
arranged for my benefit ?" 

"Yes. I didn't see it. I went to the field 
hands' quarters when I got out of the car." 

"I think I understand everything now," 
I said, "except why he should do it." 

"I've been looking at the account books 
and I know the explanation for that too," 
said Chloe. "The estate here is mine. He 
was just running it for me. He used to 
send accountings to me of the cotton he 
sold on the open market, but actually he 
was selling more than half the crop to a 
textile mill near here and pocketing the 
money. If I married you, you would 
probably discover his deception. But if 
you thought I was partly black, if you 
were frightened away . . ." 

"I see." I said meditatively. Then a 
thought struck me. "What about 
Stephen ?" 

Mammy Malhe's dark face twitched. 
"He kill Massa Duquesne. He don' wanta 
rot in jail. He rather die bis own way. 
He went off into the swamp, and he never 
comin' back." Her eyes brimmed with 
tears. "Now I'se all alone. Got no chick 
nor child left." 

I was holding Chloe close to me, but I 
disengaged one hand long enough to grasp 
Mammy Mallie's gnarled fingers. 

"You have us, Mammy Mallie," I said 
softly. "Wherever we go, you'll go. And 
as to a child ..." I looked at Chloe. She 
flushed and snuggled closer to me. 

CsicfAzA vx*Ju<& . . . 



C#fAM rfif£A0 A£,t 




// was the insanely impossible plan hatched out of a mad genius' 

thirst for revenge — but the gods must have applauded when it resulted 

in a train-wreck — on the high seas! 

THE four men groped cautiously 
through the fog, guided only by 
the faint lights of the yacht which 
lay alongside the pier. From time to 
time they stumbled as their shoes caught 
in railroad tracks set in the planking. 

"As if we didn't have enough trou- 
ble!" muttered Benson, a frail little man 
who trailed behind the others. "A two- 
hundred-thousand-dollar train wreck, all 
the newspapers and politicians on our 
necks, and now we have to waste time 
with a lunatic!" 

Denmead, whose stocky figure led the 
group, snarled impatiently: 

"Maybe you think I like it! Enden 
may be a lunatic, but he also happens to 

be an important stockholder that we can't 
afford to antagonize at this time. So 
stop your whining !" 

Benson continued to mutter, but For- 
sythe and Coleman, who trudged ahead 
of him, remained silent. Directors in the 
railroad line of which Denmead was 
president, they were uneasy. The recent 
catastrophe, with its attendant publicity, 
had made them jittery, and they were 
suspicious of the multi-millionaire eccen- 
tric's motive for asking them to come 
aboard his yacht. 

Resignedly the four men approached 
the yacht, started as a figure stirred in 
the shadows. 

"Mr. Denmead and party?" a voice 

Express to Hell! 


asked. The tones were soft and low. 
Denmead, unaccustomed to answering 
questions, demanded tersely : 

"Are you the captain of the Sibyl?" 
The man's smile was barely percep- 
tible in the fog. 

"No, sir. I am Steward Roberts." 
Satisfied as to the identity of the four 
men, he trained a hand flash on the gang- 
plank. Denmead ascended, and, like 
sheep, the others followed. As they 
reached the deck, Benson halted fear- 
fully, timidly asked : 

"Enden doesn't mean to leave the pier, 
does he ?" 

"Of course not!" Denmead cut him 
short. "I give him credit for having 
more brains than to sail in this fog !" 
He turned to the steward. "Where's 

"Below, sir. Please follow me." 
The steward led the four men to a 
companionway to starboard. There he 

"You will find Mr. Enden below, sir." 
Denmead peered down the dimly light- 
ed companionway and shot an uneasy 
glance at the steward. Then he boldly 
descended, and the others followed. At 
the foot of the steps they stopped short 
in astonishment. 

They stood on a railroad platform. Be- 
side the platform was a Pullman car. It 
was Enden's private car, the Sibyl. Like 
the yacht, it was named after his wife. 

A WED by the incongruity of an eighty- 
** ton Pullman car within the hull of a 
yacht, the four men regarded it dumbly. 
As the platform was level with the car's 
floor and flush with its side, it was im- 
possible to tell whether it rested on its 
trucks or had been blocked up. What- 
ever the case, the spectacle was sufficient- 
ly fantastic to appall these men. It was 
Denmead who expressed their thoughts. 
"Who but Enden," he asked, "could be 
responsible for this ? I've always thought 

him mad ! Now I'm sure he's crazy !" 

"Good evening, gentlemen." 

The four men whirled. Enden ap- 
proached them from the car's entrance. 
They immediately noticed a change in 
both his appearance and his manner. 

A powerful man, well over six feet and 
proportionately broad of shoulder, he had 
never possessed the demeanor of a big 
man. A child-like dreaminess in his 
eyes had betrayed an indifference to ac- 
tuality that others had been quick to take 
advantage of. That dreaminess was gone 
from his eyes now. It had been replaced 
by a colorless stare that was hard and 
unyielding. As Enden came close, even 
Denmead made a movement that was 
very close to a wince. Certain his re- 
mark had been overheard, he said quick- 

"A most unusual thing you have here ! 
But, as I was just saying, it's beyond 
me. What is the idea, anyway?" 

Enden's brittle stare did not alter. 

"If you will come aboard, I will try to 
satisfy your curiosity." 

Turning on his heel, he walked to the 
car's entrance. His guests hesitated, 
then followed. Enden led them into a 
Pullman drawing room. 

Their gaze was arrested by an oil por- 
trait hung in the blank center section of 
one wall. Its subject was Enden's wife. 
It was impossible for anyone immedi- 
ately to remove his gaze from the blonde 
beauty of Sibyl Enden. Every stroke of 
the painter's brush had caught the lucid 
simplicity of her soul, testified to the 
artist's keen appreciation of her charm. 

"Is Mrs. Enden aboard ?" Coleman 
asked hopefully. 

Enden did not regard him as he an- 
swered : "No." 

Drawing their eyes reluctantly from 
the portrait, the men noticed another de- 
tail of the car's interior. The thick panes 
of glass in the windows were translucent, 
but not transparent. It was impossible to 


Dime Mystery Magazine 

see out. The thick glass panes mocked 

Denmead turned concernedly, ad- 
dressed Enden. 

"What's the idea of the thick — " 

His words were shaken back into his 
throat by a violent jerk of the car. The 
others maintained their balance with diffi- 
culty, listened to the clatter of couplings. 

"What — what happened?" demanded 

"The car's been coupled!" Forsythe 
cried excitedly. "That's what's hap- 
pened!" He turned to Enden. "We're 
being shunted out of the yacht, aren't 

"No," Enden told him. "The car is 
not leaving the yacht." 

But its next movement belied his as- 
surance. Slowly, in rhythmic jerks, it 
seemed to move aft. Listening closely, 
the railroad men heard the muffled chug- 
ging of a light yard engine, the click of 
wheels over rail joints. All eyes shifted 
to the windows, but, as they afforded no 
vision, the gaze of each director turned 
to Enden. Denmead, almost angrily, ex- 
claimed : 

"Dammit, Enden, you can't fool me ! 
We've been shunted out onto the pier 
tracks. Listen . . ." 

The occupants of the car felt the jar- 
ring of wheels over switch frogs. Den- 
mead eyed Enden triumphantly. 

"Did you think you could fool an old 
railroader like me?" 

Enden's smile was mocking. 

"I had hardly hoped to, but it is grati- 
fying to know that I have. For we are 
not, as you seem so sure, on a pier track. 
As a matter of fact, we are not even on 

T ISTENING to the metallic rumble of 

the trucks beneath, the four men ex- 
changed incredulous glances. 

"The car's wheels rest on rollers," En- 
den explained. "The rollers are powered 
by electric motors." 

"That's absurd !" Denmead scoffed. 
"Do you think I don't recognize the 
sound of wheels passing over rail joints 
and switch frogs? And I distinctly hear 
the chugging of a locomotive !" 

Enden seemed gratified. 

"The clicking that you mistake for that 
caused by rail joints is caused by slots 
which appear in the rollers at every thir- 
tieth turn. At more infrequent and less 
regular intervals, larger slots reproduce 
the clatter of switch and crossing frogs. 
As for the chugging of the locomotive, 
that is merely a sound effect supplied by 
a phonograph record." 

Denmead was still unconvinced. 

"There's one way to find out," he said. 

He strode from the drawing room and 
walked to the rear of the car. The oth- 
ers followed. A moment later they re- 
turned to the room. They wore an al- 
most comical look of awe. 

"Now that you are convinced," said 
Enden, "that you are aboard my yacht, 
won't you be seated ?" 

A little dazedly the four men occupied 
lounging chairs. Enden pressed a but- 
ton, and a Negro porter appeared with 
cigarettes. They were eagerly accepted, 
and the smokers, settling back in their 
chairs, tried to feel at ease. 

They failed. It was difficult to believe 
themselves aboard a yacht, absurd to feel 
that they were passengers in a private 

"It's amazing!" exclaimed Denmead. 
"Even now, I'd swear we were moving! 
I can't understand how I could be so 
easily fooled." 

"I think I can," Coleman mused aloud. 
"I've been fooled before. Haven't you 
ever been on a train that seemed to be 
pulling out of the depot, leaving an idle 
train on an adjacent track. Suddenly, 
when the other train is gone, you dis- 
cover that it's your own train that's left 
standing in the depot." 

"Mr. Coleman understands the psy- 

Express to Hell! 


chology perfectly," Enden said. "It was 
an experience such as he has described 
that gave me my idea." 

"You haven't yet explained," Den- 
mead pointed out, "what your idea is." 

Enden seemed astonished. 

"I thought you would guess. The fact 
that I have gone to such lengths to dupli- 
cate travel by rail aboard my yacht would 
indicate that I do not enjoy travel by 

"However, yachting was one of my 
wife's pleasures. The installation of my 
private car in the Sibyl was my challenge 
to the dilemma. My wife enjoyed her 
yachting, and, by dwelling in aboard 
my car, listening to its wheels as they 
turned at a speed of seventy miles an 
hour instead of a few paltry knots, I 
managed to eliminate the appaling ennui 
of travel by sea." 

The wheels of the Pullman slowed, 
ceased to turn. Enden's guests sat very 
quietly, trying not to reveal their 
thoughts. That Enden was an eccentric 
they had always known. Now their per- 
fectly normal, altogether conventional 
minds drew inevitably to the same con- 
clusion. They were the guests of a mad- 

As the car's wheels began to turn 
again, they became increasingly distrust- 
ful of their host's unpredictable ingen- 
uity. Each wished to end the visit as 
soon as possible. 

"I'm glad you asked us to come here," 
said Denmead, with a suave air of final- 
ity. "I'm grateful for a chance to see 
your most unusual — " 

"Thank you," Enden cut him short, 
"but I did not invite you here to demon- 
strate my artificial travel by rail. I had 
another reason — the Southern Express." 

The eyes of the four men widened. 
The Southern Express was the train that 
had been wrecked a few days before. Its 
first section had been disabled in the path 
of the second, which had traveled only 

a few hundred yards behind. Unable to 
stop, the trailing locomotive had tele- 
scoped the observation car, killing nine 
persons, mutilating one beyond recogni- 

"I think I understand your interest," 
said Denmead. "You've been unduly dis- 
turbed by the fuss the newspapers have 
made. Let me assure you that the acci- 
dent will not affect the value of your 
stock. The Southern Express is again 
running on schedule, and the whole affair 
will soon blow over. The public will 

Gt'V^OUR assurance is very comfort- 
ing," said Enden coolly. "It in- 
dicates that you have a clear conscience 
with respect to the tragedy. The news- 
papers have placed the blame rather 
squarely on your shoulders, have they 
not ?" 

Denmead shrugged. 

"My conscience is clear, and I'm sure 
the directors feel the same way." He 
looked to them, and they nodded. 

"Then the allegations of the newspa- 
pers are untrue ? I mean the charge that 
the first section of the Southern Express 
was disabled because its locomotive was 
obsolete and taxed beyond its limit. And 
the charge that the road's safety equip- 
ment is so inadequate that it is not safe 
to run trains in two sections. It was 
pointed out that there are many places 
on the line where the visibility is so bad 
that if anything happened to the leading 
section, the trailing section could not pos- 
sibly stop." 

Denmead squirmed uncomfortably. 

"Look here, Enden, we're among our- 
selves, and there's no use beating around 
the bush. As president and directors of 
the road, it's our duty to protect our 
stockholders. They come first. We 
couldn't pay dividends if we threw away 
a lot of money on new-fangled equip- 


Dime Mystery Maxaxine 

"Then," said Enden, a trifle pale, "the 
charges of the press are true?" 

Denmead shrugged. 

"Our consciences are clear. We've 
paid off every claim. No one has any 
legal cause of action against us." 

"One of the victims was unidentified," 
Enden pointed out. "A woman, the 
newspapers said, though she was so hor- 
ribly mangled that one physician refused 
to commit himself. What about her?" 

Denmead threw up his hands. 

"We've done everything in our power 
to identify her, but there hasn't been a 
clue. Nobody has reported a missing 
person. We'll probably never know who 
she was." 

"On the contrary," said Enden, "you 

Denmead arched his brows. 

"You mean you — you — " 

"Yes," said Enden steadily, "she was 
my wife." 

The four men sat frozen. Denmead 
uttered a strangled exclamation, managed 
to ask: 

"But — but are you sure?" 

"There can be no doubt," Enden an- 
swered hollowly. "I bade her goodbye 
at the station, saw her enter the observa- 
tion car that was telescoped a half-hour 

The four men sat wordless. There 
was nothing they could say. Too much 
talking had been done already. Slowly, 
irresistibly, their eyes were drawn to the 
portrait of Sibyl Enden. An unutterable 
feeling of abject, self -revulsion pervaded 
to the marrow of their bones, made them 
shrink within their clothes. But this 
emotion gave way to one of increasing 
apprehension as they felt Enden's cold 
eyes upon them. A suspicion, a fearful 
foreboding, found a foothold on their con- 
science-stricken minds. 

The car's wheels turned at a high 
speed now, creating a metallic rumble 
punctuated by clicks that might have 

been made by rail joints and switch frogs. 
The continuous motion of the wheels 
combined with the swaying and bumping 
of the car, had dinned so persistently 
into the consciousness of the four men 
that they could no longer shake off the 
feeling that they rode upon rails. 

Benson, unable to suppress his fears, 
jumped to his feet, cried hysterically : 
"We're no longer in the yacht t We're — " 

"Nonsense!" Denmead cut him off. 
Trying to reassure himself as much as 
the others, he commented: "I can be 
fooled once, but not twice. We're still 
in the yacht beside the pier." 

"No," said Enden casually, "we are 

The four men started, drilled him with 
their eyes. 

"Where — where are we, then?" 

"The Sibyl is moving out into the bay." 

Denmead leaped to his feet. 

"What! In this fog? You mad fool! 
We might be rammed! I demand that 
you order the captain to put back at 
once !" 

t 1 NDEN laughed in his face. 

**^ "It is you who talk of safety 

now !" 

Denmead tried to speak calmly. 

"Where are we bound for? Why are 
we — " 

A deafening clatter interrupted him. 
It was a familiar clatter, the "thwack" 
made by the crack of the air as two 
speeding trains meet and pass on parallel 
tracks. It continued many seconds, then 
ended as suddenly as it had begun. Only 
the steady rumble of the Pullman's trucks 

Enden asked mockingly : 

"The sound effects are realistic, don't 
you think?" 

No one answered. Each wondered if 
it was possible to duplicate that familiar 
clatter so realistically. Coleman sudden- 
ly exclaimed : 

Express to Hell! 


"We can't be afloat ! I know we can't ! 
I get sea-sick the minute a boat leaves 
the pier. I alzmys do ! 

"I consider that a compliment to my 
ingenuity," Enden told him. "I have 
often wondered if my artificial train ride 
would fool a poor sailor." 

But Coleman, now grown pale, was 

"I tell you, Denmead, we can't be at 
sea! I know!" 

For the first time in his life, the rail- 
road president looked at the director as 
if he respected his opinion. 

"We can very soon find out," he said, 
and he walked across the room. But the 
drawing room door refused to yield. Den- 
mead twisted its knob, shook it. The 
door did not budge. It was locked. 

The others stared helplessly as Den- 
mead, his face red from the exertion, 
turned and faced them. 

"Try the other door, you fools!" 

They obeyed. It required only a mo- 
ment to discover that the other door, too, 
was locked. All eyes were focused on 
Enden. Denmead hoarsely demanded : 

"Dammit, Enden, what's your game? 
Why are these doors locked?" 

"Because," Enden told him, with a cold 
stare, "I want to watch four guilty con- 
sciences at close quarters." 

Denmead returned his stare a moment, 
then had an idea. Moving to a window, 
he attempted to lift it. 

"It's no use trying that," said Enden. 

"The windows are fixed in place." 

Ignoring him, Denmead lifted with all 
his middle-aged might. The window 
stayed fast. The directors tried the other 
windows, finally gave up. 

Benson began to whimper. 

"I told you we shouldn't have come 
here! We'll all be— " 

Denmead snarled him down. 

"Shut up, you fool! That's what En- 
den wants to see us do. He wants us to 
grovel." He turned, addressed Enden 
with his old-time executive manner. "If 
you don't unlock these doors and let us 
out of this car, we'll break them down!" 

"In that case," said Enden coolly, "you 
will find that you have underestimated 
the thickness of their steel panels." 

"T\ENMEAD'S reaction was to seize a 
t*^ chair. But it was immovable. Try- 
ing one piece of furniture after another, 
the men discovered that everything in the 
room had been securely fastened. There 
was no object that might be used to bat- 
ter the solid doors or the thick panes of 
glass in the windows. 

Benson grasped at a straw. He pressed 
the button that had brought the porter. 

"There is no porter on this car," En- 
der told him. "We are quite alone." 

Benson continued hopefully to press 
the button, but there was no response. 
At last he gave up, turned helplessly to 
the others. They listened to the long 
blast of a whistle up ahead. 


Dime Mystery Magazine 

"You gentlemen are being absurd," 
Enden told them. "I can't help feeling 
flattered that you have been so thorough- 
ly deceived, but I'm sorry to find you so 
distrustful. Upon my word of honor, we 
are still aboard my yacht. By this time, 
we must be well out into the bay." 

A remote clatter seemed to mock his 
statement. The clatter drew rapidly 
closer, and the car jarred as both trucks, 
in quick succession, rattled over two dis- 
tinct sets of crossing frogs. 

"The B & O tracks !" Coleman ex- 
claimed. "It's the only double-track 
cross-over within miles ! That's what the 
whistle signaled for!" 

The others said nothing. They listened 
to the long blast of another whistle, which 
seemed to sound from farther away and 
from behind. 

"See!" Coleman cried, "there's another 
train following us ! It's whistled for the 
cross-over !" 

Denmead uttered an exclamation, 
reached for his watch. He studied it 
carefully, then, very pale, faced Enden. 

"I understand now," he said, with a 
voice unlike his own. "You've had this 
car coupled to the Southern Express !" 

Instantly the others consulted their 
own watches, saw that the time checked 
perfectly. Aghast, they realized the sig- 
nificance of the whistle that had sounded 
at the rear. They were coupled to the 
first section; the second section of the 
Southern Express followed behind! 

Looking into the four frightened faces, 
Enden laughed. 

"Your imagination is running away 
with you," he said. "Why would I couple 
this car to the Southern Express ?" 

"The devil only knows !" said Den- 

But the others were beginning to guess. 
Convinced that they were trapped in a 
speeding car by a madman bent on a 
terrible revenge, they slowly grasped the 
outline of a diabolical plot. 

"Don't you see what he's going to do?" 
Coleman demanded of Denmead. "He's 
going to make us die the same death his 
wife died ! Something's going to hap- 
pen to the train, and it will stop in front 
of the second section !" 

Struggling to control his voice, the 
executive turned to Enden. 

"Tell us the truth! Why have you 
locked us in this car?" 

Enden laughed. 

"You refuse to believe the truth ! Why 
should I waste my breath telling you 
again that you are in a yacht at sea where 
I can watch your wormy, shriveled con- 
sciences writhe in a hell of their own 
making ?" 

npHE four men stared silently. They 
were aware that the rumble of the 
car's trucks had lessened. It seemed that 
the train had slowed, and a moment later 
they understood why. A hollow sound 
reached their ears, endured for several 
seconds. Then the rumble of the trucks 
sounded as before, and it seemed the 
train had picked up speed again. 

"Spring Creek Trestle!" Forsythe 

Familiar with the road and all its land- 
marks, the four men were now convinced 
beyond the shadow of a doubt. Enden 
had lied to them, trapped them in this car 
to meet a horrible death. Why, that had 
been its very purpose in the yacht ! What 
fools they had been to believe his cock- 
and-bull story in explanation of its in- 
stallation there ! 

Exchanging expressive glances, the 
men reached a common understanding. 
It was necessary to act at once. They 
must free themselves from this car, for 
death might come at any second. 

"If you don't unlock the doors," Den- 
mead told Enden firmly, "we'll take the 
keys from you." 

"But I don't have the keys," said En- 
den, "and you couldn't take them from 

Express to Hell! 


me if I did !" 

Whether the four middle-aged execu- 
tives could have overpowered Enden was 
a matter never to be decided. 

Suddenly, without warning, the shock 
came. The passengers of the car went 
sprawling as it jerked to a violent halt. 
Air brakes hissed as its wheels came to 
a dead stop. Groping dazedly to their 
feet, its occupants rubbed their bruises. 
Enden's four guests stared dumbly at one 
another, overwhelmed by the eerie un- 
reality of the sudden quiet. The quiet 
ended as a train whistle sounded very 
close, and drew even closer, as it con- 
tinued to blast frantically. 

The passengers in the doomed car re- 
acted variously. Benson knelt to his 
knees and commenced to pray. Forsythe 
rushed to a window, tried to break its 
glass with his fists, which he beat to pulp. 
Denmead hurled his stocky figure against 
one of the steel doors, battered it again 

and again with futile effort. 

The plight of Coleman was most pa- 
thetic. He became sea-sick. Sea-sick be- 
lieving that he was about to die in a 
train wreck ! 

Enden alone remained calm. 

His laughter sounded above the blast 
of the locomotive whistle and the screech 
of sliding wheels on steel. But it was 
drowned in the rending crash of crum- 
bling metal as a terriffic impact split the 
car wide open, ground its passengers into 

Enden, who lay a mangled mass in the 
wreckage, regained consciousness for a 
split-second of confused, uncomprehend- 
ing wonder, remembered dazedly the 
screech of wheels and the whistle's blast, 
then lapsed into oblivion sharing the de- 
lusion of his victims. 

The gods of irony must have chuckled. 

The yacht, Sibyl, had been rammed in 
the fog. 


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I was certain at 
that moment that 
the rotting eyes 
of the ghastly 
severed head on 
the table turned 
over in their 
sockets so that they stared at Mar- 
garet — focused on her panting heav- 
ing breasts — and the putrid lips 
stretched in an evil lascivious grim- 
ace. . . . 

That's just a part of the wierdly 
thrilling feature length novel by J. 0. 




In This Issue of Dime Mystery! Buy Now! 


Voice Of Horror 

I CANNOT help it if I am big and mis- 
shapen and look more like some hulk- 
ing grizzly than a man. Neither am I 
to blame if I have a menacing, almost 
brute-like, expression. Part of this is due 
to a facial wound from the war, part to 
the terrible experiences I had then that for 
a time shattered my nervous system. Only 
by the skill of the brilliant psychologist, 

/ can not help being huge and . 
shapen. But perhaps I could 
have withstood the thing 
which turned me into a mur- 
derous beast — the thing 
came to me in the guise of 
a beautiful woman with 
white, naked arms out- 
stretched. . . 


A Mystery*Terrof Novelette of Many 
Eerie Thrills 

Dr. Hansen, was I restored to normal. 
Patiently, skilfully, with infinite kindness, 
he took my wrecked personality — like so 
much broken clay in his hands — and by a 
long course of psychological suggestion re- 
moulded it to its former outlines. Dr. Han- 

sen could heal my nerves, but he could 
not restore my appearance. Ominous and 
brutal I will always look — with tremend- 
ous physical strength, given me as by na- 
ture's caprice to compensate me for my ap- 
pearance. My friends say I have the kindest 
heart in the world, and Amy says I have 
a nature as innocent and easily led as a 
child's. But Amy loves me — and love is 
sometimes blind. She had never guessed 



Dime Mystery Magazine 

at the monstrous and hellish appetites lurk- 
ing within me — no one had — until that 
horrible night .... 

I had come down to the Sheridan coun- 
try place for a house-party. I knew noth- 
ing about the place except that it had be- 
longed to Caroline Sheridan's uncle, that 
it stood in a tract of wild and virgin wood- 
land, and had come to her, along with the 
rest of her huge inheritance, at her uncle's 
death. I had heard, of course, of the 
legend of the monster among the Sheri- 
dans, but I had dismissed if with a laugh 
as one does such old wives' tales and chim- 
ney-corner spinnings — and I had never 
connected it with this house. 

I got off the train at a remote little sta- 
tion in deep woodland about seven o'clock 
at night. The moon was very bright, and 
the crowding tangled mass of trees, like 
an impenetrable wall, ringed the little sta- 
tion round. In the fantastic splotches of 
shadow they threw over the platform I 
suddenly recognized a familiar angular 
face looking anxiously at me. 

I got quite a Start. It was Dr. Hansen, 
the very psychologist who had cured me 
years ago. 

"You!" I exclaimed. 

"Bruce Trent!" he ejaculated in the 
same surprise, coming rapidly toward me 
and extending his hand. "What are you 
doing here?" 

We stared at each other. In the years 
since I had seen Dr. Hansen he seemed 
to have grown seedier, and his elderly face 
was shriveled closer around the angular 
jutting bones of his face. His face was 
flushed and stretched like parchment. 

"I was invited to the house-party," I 
said. "Are you a guest here too?" 

He blinked through his rimless spec- 
tacles in surprise. "My dear boy," he said, 
"I am the brother of the bridegroom !" 

HPHEN it flashed on me. My hostess, 
-*■ Caroline Sheridan, had recently mar- 
ried, and though I had received a wedding 

announcement, the name Ralph Hansen 
on it had meant nothing to me — Hansen 
was too common a name for me to connect 
it with my friend the doctor. 

"Your brother is the husband of Caro- 
line Sheridan!" I exclaimed. "Well, I'll 
be glad to meet him !" 

"Hm," he said. He looked at me in un- 
certainty. I knew he was thinking about 
the fact that Caroline Sheridan and I had 
once been in love — but that was long ago, 
practically forgotten by us both, and now 
every ounce of my feeling of that sort was 
centered on her good friend, Amy Deane, 
to whom I was engaged. 

I laughed. "Are you thinking about that 
boy-and-girl affair Caroline and I had 
years ago?" 

"No," he said. "That's not it." He was 
not looking at me, he was looking at the 
woods, with a peculiar expression on his 
face, almost uneasiness. The wall of wood- 
land, pressing so close about us, seemed 
to be listening — listening, splotched le- 
prously black and white by the moon, with 
misshapen tendrils of fog wandering 
through it like witches' fingers. 

It was lonely in that station. I felt it sud- 
denly, like a spot of chill. 

The doctor's angular face looked at me 
sharply. "I was thinking about the effect 
of this place upon you." 

"Upon me!" 

"Yes. There's something about this 
place — something queer. I can't understand 
it — can't lay my finger on it. I've been here 
several days — it's affected everyone here." 

I glanced at him. It was something about 
his tone. He was not scoffing. He seemed 
to gauge my huge shoulders, my scarred 
and menacing expression, without doing 
so directly. "Do you know why I came 
down to the station?" he said abruptly. 
"It was — because I was thinking of going 

"Going away !" 

"Yes." He broke off, looking again at 

/ Am the Beast! 


the wood. At that moment I saw beads of 
sweat on his neck. "You've heard the 
story, of course," he said, "of the beast 
in the Sheridan family— the monstrosity 
that was born here — and never seen, con- 
cealed by the old uncle who left Caroline 
her fortune." 

"But that's nonsense !" I said. 

The beads of sweat on his neck, on the 
neck of this penetrating man of science, 
were affecting me more than the peculiar 
atmosphere of the wood, which was begin- 
ning to seep into us in a chilling, inde- 
finable way. 

His eyes veered to me again. "I was 
thinking of the effect on you," he said, 
"of the combination of this atmosphere 
and your old feeling for Caroline." 

"What do you mean?" I exclaimed. 

Just then there was the sound of rapid 
feet and Joyce Sheridan, Caroline's sister, 
came running across the platform toward 

"Look," muttered Dr. Hansen in a quick 
undertone, "I spoke of the effects of the 
atmosphere — look at her and judge for 

Joyce ran directly up to me. Her face 
was flushed ; she was hatless ; in her light 
summer dress, running to us this way out 
of the darkness, she looked like some 
touseled nymph disgorged from the mys- 
terious wood. 

"Here you are!" she exclaimed. "Amy 
couldn't come to meet you — I ran all the 
way— I was so afraid I'd miss you!" 

"You ran from the house ?" 

"Yes — through the woods." 

She took my hand with a sparkling smile. 
She was a lovely girl, fully as lovely as 
her sister ; she and Caroline were the only 
two of the Sheridan family remaining. 
There was absolutely nothing the matter 
with her that I could see. She was the 
picture of flushed, radiant welcome. 

"The doctor has been telling me bogey 
stories," I laughed. I looked at the doctor 
in smiling challenge. His face had not re- 

laxed from its compressed and narrow 

"You should not have run alone through 
the woods," he said sharply. "Come, I 
have the car to drive us back." 

TJ7TE WALKED to a town car behind 
** the station and the chauffeur opened 
the tonneau, Joyce and I talking lightly. 
The doctor, as though out of sympathy 
with our mood, got in front with the chaf- 
feur. We drove down a narrow winding 
road, overhung with trees ; wisps of fog 
parted before the car as if reluctant to let 
us pass. Joyce and I talked gaily of a 
hundred things ; she told me what fun they 
had had putting the old house to rights. 
After awhile she paused and became seri- 

"Do you know the real purpose of the 
house-party?" she asked. 


"To kill once for all that legend about 
the Beast !" she burst out intensely. "The 
famous Beast of the Sheridans ! The mon- 
strosity that uncle was supposed to have 
kept here — that was supposed to have been 
his link with the powers of evil ! The 
beast that was so misshapen and ugly 
and — " She glanced at me and stopped. 
"You know they do say," she went on in a 
lighter tone, "that uncle delved into sorcery 
and had a compact with the Devil. And 
that that accounted for his fortune, and 
that the Beast was born into the family 
as a tangible reminder to him of his com- 
pact ! And that his compact was that the 
rest of his descendants should die !" 

She laughed merrily. How refreshing it 
sounded, that healthy, girlish laughter! 
How gruesome, in the light of what fol- 
lowed ! 

"The beast must be no bigger than a 
cricket," she said, "because we've looked in 
every cranny and cupboard, and can't find 

I laughed with her. "And you feel no 
effects of the atmosphere?" 


Dime Mystery Magazine 

"Atmosphere!" she exclaimed. She took 
a deep breath, raising one hand as if to 
help expand her lungs. "It's gorgeous !" 

As I chuckled, I happened to glance at 
her hand. The laughing, railing girl, with 
her thumb between her fingers, was making 
the sign of the Evil One ! 

Something froze in me. 

"Joyce !" I exclaimed. 

"What's the matter?" she asked. 

Nothing will ever strike me with such 
sudden horror as what happened then. 
She was still looking at me, her face full 
of carefree laughter, and suddenly, before 
my very eyes, her face was transformed 
into a mask of bestiality. The eyes nar- 
rowed in a leer that was indescribable ; 
her lips flattened, drawing back from her 
teeth, a drool of fine spittle leaked from 
the corners. From those twisted lips is- 
sued a horrible sound. It resembled that 
horrible gurgle a medium makes in the 
midst of a trance. It rose, deepened, into 
a voice. It was not her voice — it seemed 
a voice no human being could utter — roll- 
ing and guttural, like a voice from the 
abyss of sin. 

"I am the Beast," it said. "I speak to 
you, Bruce Trent. I will project my soul 
into your body, exactly as at this moment 
I project my soul into the body of this girl. 
In your body, Bruce Trent, I shall kill the 
descendants of the house of Sheridan, as 
was the compact with Satan." 

I sat riveted, with the sweat starting on 
me and my body like a block of ice. I 
could not move. I could not take my eyes 
from the horrible, convulsed face of the 
gir! before me. Dimly I sensed a jolt — the 
car stopping— Dr. Hansen and the chauf- 
feur looking horror-stricken from in front. 
For me they did not exist. Nothing ex- 
isted but those writhing, foaming lips and 
that demoniac voice. 

It stopped. 

Then I saw a spasm convulse Joyce. 
Like one in agony she clutched at her 
breast, tore the flimsy fabric of her sum- 

mer dress free from her slim shoulders. 
Her lips were bubbling; I could see only 
her eye-whites. Her breasts came into 
view, her panting, throbbing white stom- 
ach ; she continued in a rending paroxysm 
to tear off her clothes, with hands clawing 
maniacally as if to free herself from some- 
thing internal and terrible. 

Joyce was a beautiful woman. Totally 
nude she swayed before me, her face like 
a tortured mask. 

"The Beast!" she cried — in her own 
voice, but such a voice of agony and sheer 
horror I have never heard. Then with a 
scream like a maniac she plunged out the 
car door into the woods. 

I plunged after her. I was shouting. I 
stumbled. I dashed through the massive, 
moss-hung trees. Her nude form flitted 
ahead, revealed in stark ivory by the moon- 
light one moment, steeped in shadow the 
next. She was still screaming. The creepers 
and boughs seemed to reach out to engulf 

Then I lost her. I was plunging head- 
long through a glade. Something sudden 
and inexplicable happened to me — as 
though I had been cut off in mid-air — as 
though I had run into an invisible wire. 
The very breath leaped out of my throat ; 
I whirled into blackness. But even as I 
fell, there seemed to appear before me a 
face — lewd and unutterable as a Congo 
witch-mask. Again I heard that voice — 
the voice I had heard in the car — but not 
in my ears, in the very fastness of my soul. 

"I am the Beast. Now I enter into your 
spirit, Bruce Trent, and you shall do my 

I fell face forward like a blind man. 


The Devil's Kiss 

T CAME to my senses as though from a 
-*- terrible nightmare. My head was throb- 
bing and I felt nausea deep within me. A 

/ Am the Beast! 


hand was shaking my shoulder. A voice 
was crying in my ear. "Are you all right? 
Are you all right, sir?" 

It was the chauffeur. His face, panting, 
wide-eyed, was peering into mine. 

"Yes — yes," I muttered, and struggled 
erect. I was in a glade — the same glade, I 
recognized, in which I had lost Joyce, 
though the blobs of moonlight and shadow 
seemed to have changed. At my feet, 
tangled with moss, was a twisted tree-root 
that made the very outline of the face I had 
seen . . . my senses seemed confused. 

The chauffeur called behind him : "Here 
he is ! I have found him, sir !" 

Out of the blackness, with a crashing 
of branches, ran Dr. Hansen. 

"Thank God !" he exclaimed. "You, at 
least! Where is Joyce — did you find her?" 

"No," I muttered, gazing into his 
horror-stricken eyes. For some reason I 
dropped my own. I felt somehow different. 
There was a peculiar desire in me not to 
discuss with him anything that had hap- 
pened. It was as a hand laid on my soul, 
prohibiting me. 

"My God, Bruce, what happened to 
you?" he cried. 

"I must have fallen over this tree-root 
and been knocked unconscious," I said. 

I saw him staring at my hand. It looked 
unnaturally dark. Purely reflexively I put 
it in my pocket. 

"Are you hurt?" 

"I must have cut myself as I fell." 

"We must get back," he insisted. "If 
she hasn't run to the house, we've got to 
get the others to help search." 

We went back to the car. Inside I 
glanced at my watch. I stared at it in 
amazement, held it to my ear, glanced at 
the doctor. "What time is it ?" 


I felt a shock all through me. Nine- 
thirty ! It was shortly after seven when we 
left the station. "Good God — how long did 
you search for me?" I exclaimed. 

"Upwards of an hour." 

My lips felt dry. Upwards of an hour — 
I had been lying in that glade. It came 
to me with a sick sense, stabbing through 
the unnatural calm that held me, as if for 
the first time I was coming awake. In 
that hour — what had happened to me? 
What was this blood on my hand? 

The great house, rambling and ablaze 
with light, suddenly flashed before us. 

A group of people were on the verandah. 
They thronged about us. There was a 
babble of incoherent talk and salutations. 

"Bruce Trent !" 

"Doctor! Have you seen Caroline?" 

"Caroline? No." 

I recognized Frank Jameson ; the Blairs ; 
Lyle Scott and his wife; Grey Harning. I 
saw neither Caroline, my hostess, nor 
Amy, my fiancee. I saw several people 
who did not know me, make a start of in- 
voluntary horror which, at sight of me, 
they could not suppress. 

"Is Joyce here ?" demanded the doctor. 

"Here? No — she went to meet Bruce at 
the station." 

"Don't tell me she's gone, too!" ex- 
slaimed Frank Jameson. 

"Too !" repeated the doctor. "Who else 
is missing?" 

"Caroline !" 

The name came from several at once. 
In the expression of their faces, I would 
see this was the reason for their uneasy 
gathering. "She's been missing for the 
last hour ! No one seems to know where 
she's gone !" 

"Where's Amy?" I demanded. 

"She and Ralph Hansen are making an- 
other search of the attic. It's ridiculous, 
because we've ransacked it once already!" 

46CEE here, this is serious," said Grey 
^ Harning. "You say Joyce is gone, 

too ?" 

"Yes," said Dr. Hansen. "She — she ran 

from the car," he said, obviously in some 

uncertainty how to put it. "We looked for 


Dime Mystery Magazine 

her everywhere, but couldn't find her. We 
thought she had come here." 

"Ran from the car !" exclaimed Frank. 
"Why? Wasn't she with you?" 

I spoke up. "She took a short cut tow- 
ard the servants' lodge because she thought 
she saw Caroline." 

The doctor looked at me thunderstruck. 
"Why, Bruce, she did not ! What are you 
saying ?" 

I knew it was a lie as soon as I opened 
my mouth. They all stared at me. With 
my sweating, contorted face, my disheveled 
hair, my clothes covered with moss and 
brambles, I made a strange appearance. 

"What's the matter, Bruce, are you 
, hurt?" 

"You don't look well !" 

"He's had a nasty fall," said the doctor. 

"Yes," I mumbled, "if you'll excuse 
me — " 

"Show Mr. Trent to his room," said 
Frank to the butler. 

"Yes, sir." The butler took me sym- 
pathetically by the shoulder and led me into 
the house and upstairs to the room that 
had been apomted for me. 

I got rid of him as soon as I could. I 
wanted to be alone. Particularly, above 
everything else, I did not want to see Amy. 
The thought of her sweet face, her inno- 
cent and trusting eyes, filled me with a 
strange aversion. 

Was it because I did not want her to 
see the unnerved confusion I was in? I 
could not take time to analyze my 
thoughts. Too many things were press- 
ing on me. I sat down on the bed and 
cautiously, like a thief examining some- 
thing he has stolen, examined my hand. 

It was covered with blood — palm and 
back, even between the fingers — matted 
and clotted with blood stuck with wisps 
of moss. 

I felt myself swallowing convulsively. 
I got up, felt myself over, examining my 
face in the mirror. There was no cut on 
me, not so much as a scratch. I was un- 

hurt. Yet I had lain senseless in the glade 
for upwards of an hour — why ? Why ? 

During that time had something hap- 
pened to Joyce ? My God — was this — was 
this her blood ? 

A horrible tumult began in me. Yet, 
through it all,- part of me remained calm, as 
if unmoved and watchful. 

It was that part of me that led me to the 
washbowl, where I quickly and thoroughly 
washed my hands. Even as I dried them I 
came up with a start. Why, in God's name, 
was I doing these things? Why had I lied, 
downstairs there? Why had I not wanted 
to talk to the doctor? Sweat broke out 
again on me. 

I walked swiftly up and down the room. 

The Beast! The Beast! Confused im- 
pressions crowded upon me — the glade — 
the guttural voice — that unspeakable face 
— Joyce's paroxysm. Was it really possible 
that some horrible being had taken pos- 
session of me? Something intangible and 
utterly non-human, that was using my soul 
to do its will ? I mopped my face ; I was 
trembling with ague. I stopped with a vio- 
lent gesture. No ! This was the Twentieth 
Century — it was utterly preposterous ! I 
had fallen over the root, I had been stun- 
ned, and everything was simply a phan- 
tasmagoria of my confused brain. 

But how account for the actions of Joyce 
in the car and the voice she had spoken ? 

I had heard the voice. I had seen her 
face. Those things had happened before I 
was stunned. 

I happened to glance into the mirror. My 
face, with its sinister lowering look, met 
my eyes, not torn with suffering, but look- 
ing at me with a smile. 

"She looked like Caroline," I heard my- 
self say. 

A sea of horror swept over me as I real- 
ized what I had said. Yet even then I saw 
my own eyes looking back at me, reflect- 
ing no anguish, but gleaming with a light 
of satisfaction. 

There was a knock at the door. 

/ Am the Beast! 


y\7"ITH a swift movement like a cat, I 
** got softly into bed just when the door 
opened and a woman in a black silk dress 
came in. She was carrying a small tray 
with a glass. 

"I'm the housekeeper," she said, smiling. 
"I brought you a bromide to soothe you." 

"There's nothing the matter with me," 
I muttered in confusion. 

She came over and set the tray on the 
bed-table. With a graceful movement she 
leaned down to draw over me the light 
quilt, which I had disarranged. 

As she leaned down I saw that if anyone 
ever had what in medieval days they 
termed the evil eye, this woman had it. 

Her eyes were black, exotic, and long- 
lashed, with smiling, languorous, yet bale- 
ful depths that seemed of themselves to 
reach out and search to bottom of my soul. 
I saw too that she was beautiful. Her 
white face, perfect in every feature, had 
not one hint of color — no more than there 
was in her superbly molded arms and 
shoulders of pale ivory. She wore a 
dress cut very low, and yet with a sug- 
gestion in its snug tailored fit of a uni- 
form, which accentuated the voluptuous 
curves of her slim body. 

"Let me arrange your pillow," she said 
after a little while. 

She gently raised my head, and as she 
did so I saw, almost completely revealed, 
her smooth breasts. I was flooded with a 
subtle and exotic perfume. 

A combination of aversion and attrac- 
tion moved strongely within me. 

With another graceful movement she 
sat down by me on the bed, leaning over 
me, one hand resting lightly on my knee 
above the coverlet. 

Honeyed, tempting, provocative, was her 

"You wish to ask me something," she 

It was not so much what she said. It 
was the way she said it. As if we shared, 

somehow, some sinister knowledge. With 
an effort to throw this off I asked : 

"How long have you been here?" 

"In this house?" 


She did not take her eyes from me. 
They probed me, fondled me, soothed me, 
yet there was something malevolent deep, 
deep, within them. 

"A good many years," she said. 

"Perhaps you can tell me," I said with 
an affectation of casualness, "something 
about this monstrosity the legends speak 
about ?" 

She looked at me, but did not speak. In- 
stead she bent lower over me, until her 
face was directly above my own. I could 
feel the touch of her soft breath on my 

"Why should I tell you," she breathed, 
"when you knozv!" 

Her red lips were parted, her baleful 
exotic eyes holding me like a cobra's. For 
that instant I felt utterly unable to move. 
Whether it was the shock— the significance 
of her words — something chilling and 
malignant in her eyes spread over me like 
some miasmatic net. 

"You must not think of me as your 
enemy, but as your friend," she said. Her 
voice fell to a very wisp of sound, a ca- 
ressing ghost of a whisper. "More than a 
friend, if you will . . . because I know 
what happened in that hour — and / am 
here to help you." 

She leaned down and pressed her lips, 
full, luscious, quivering, to mine. 

It was a kiss shot through and throbbing 
with a dark ecstasy such as I had never 

Her lithe arms, with a sinuous move- 
ment like snakes, moved over my body ; 
her solid breasts crushed against me. 

There was the sharp crash of the door 

"Bruce !" cried a voice that stabbed me 
like a knife. 


Dime Mystery Magazine 


Prints Of Bloody Hands 

T SAW Amy, her golden hair gleaming, 
"*- one hand to her lovely cheek. Horror, 
unbelief, shock, struggled in her stricken 
eyes. "Oh, no ! Oh, how could you !" she 
cried, and turning on her heel, she rushed 
from the room. 

I rose like a drunken man. I ran out 
after her. She was gone ; the dark stairway 
was deserted. I pulled up in the hall. Some- 
thing within me told me I did not par- 
ticularly care. My blood was warm, throb- 
bing with the sensuous exotic charm of the 
marvelous body that had been in my arms. 

A few guests were still on the verandah. 
I could hear them shouting to others in 
the distance. A search was going on in the 
wood. A man crossed from the verandah 
into the living room and encountered me. 
He was walking with a quick, nervous step. 
His brows were knitted, his mouth grim. 
He stopped at sight of me, his eyes flashing 
in surprise, shock, and checked aversion. 

"You are Bruce Trent?" he asked. 

"I am." 

"I am Ralph Hansen." 

So this was Caroline's husband. I saw 
at once he did not like me. Not so much 
my appearance as — well, it might have 
been the recollection of what I had once 
been to Caroline. Without offering his 
hand, he moved close to me, as though to 
engage me in quiet conversation. 

"My brother has told me," he said, "of 
what happened in the car." 

"Of what happened in the car?" I re- 
peated coolly. "What happened in the car ?" 

He frowned. "I mean when Joyce ran 

"Oh, yes/' I said. "Have they found her 

"No, nor Caroline." He was looking 
steadily at me. "You were the last to see 
Joyce alive." 

"Alive !" I exclaimed. "Do you mean to 
say she is dead ?" 

He did not speak immediately. He drew 
the tip of his tongue across his lips, like 
a man striving to control himself. 

"What happened to you in the woods ?" 
he said. "My brother told me you were 
gone for an hour." 

Violent rage blazed in me. 

"What are you accusing me of?" I de- 

He flushed. He was a handsome man, in 
an angular, sharp-cut way, and that very 
handsomeness fanned my anger. 

"You are my guest," he said coldly. "I 
am not accusing you of anything; I am 
merely asking you what happened to you 
in the woods." 

I raised my shoulders, expanding my 
great chest with a suck of air and knotting 
my fists. I raised an impulse to smash this 
handsome face before me to pulp. 

"I was unconscious," I said, "and if you 
hanker for more explanations, think up 
your own." 

His set face twitched with a sharp effort 
at control ; mastering himself, he said calm- 


"Since you were the last person to see 
her, you should be out there directing the 
search. You are the only one who knows 
where she disappeared." 

"I shall," I said, and shoved by him. 

I did not pass him gently. I was hoping 
he would make some move, some trifling 
answering gesture, that would give me an 
excuse to let loose my rage upon him. 

But apparently he restrained himself. I 
plunged out through the door, ignoring 
the people on the verandah, striding on 
down the stairs into the night. 

My feet seemed to go of themselves. 

rpHE moon was riding high, now, gib- 
bous and curved, with one small cloud 
below it, fantastically red, like a salver of 
blood beneath a gleaming knife. Below it 
the wood seemed to hang like a black and 

/ Am the Beast! 


tattered pall, shot through with lances of 
light and towering shadow shapes. Grisly 
beards of moss, hanging low from the 
boughs, touched my face, seeming to move 
over my eyes and cheeks. I felt water 
squelch under my feet, warm and evil- 
smelling; rotting leaves, in layers, rose 
and lifted beneath me as though composed 
of sponge rubber. Stumps of water-cy- 
press, thrust up at grotesque angles, looked 
like squatting dwarfs. Moths flew before 
me, slow, silent and heavy-winged, their 
shapes increased eerily by the mysterious 
underbranching penumbra of light. 

Here in the dark unfathomable night, 
increased by the shifting fog-fingers and 
the unearthly light of the moon, appetites 
as old as humankind, lecherous and carnal 
awoke in me. I moved through the trees 
quickly, with gleaming eyes, a feeling of 
inexplicable exultation in my heart, 
hunched forward like a satyr. 

It suddenly came on me that I seemed 
to know where I was going. 

This knowledge shocked me like a cold 
douche ; but in the state I was in, of baffled 
rage, excitement, awakened rioting desire, 
I did not pay great attention to it ; it was 
only one among the hundred unleashed 
emotions rioting within me. 

I heard voices to my left. 

It was that way I was heading. I 
stopped, checking myself with instinctive 

The voices stabbed up suddenly in a 

They were repeated, hoarsely, wildly — 
screams of discovery. I heard other voices 
foregathering, lights flashing, the crash- 
ing of feet. 

Without altering my course, I went un- 
erringly to the spot. 

A ring of faces surrounded something 
on the ground. I recognized Frank Jame- 
son, Gray, the Scotts, others of my friends. 
The women were sobbing; the men, after 
the first shouts of excitement, were grim 
and tense-lipped. 

"My God !" I heard a voice. "Joyce !" 

I pushed my way into the ring. Joyce's 
body, nude as I had last seen it, lay on its 
back, the legs and arms flung apart like 
the petals of some lovely broken flower ; 
like a flower still blooming in the moon- 
light. Each limb, each delicate modulation 
of the flesh was flowerlike in its softness — 
yes, like a flower even to the scarlet blot 
of blood on the breast for a calyx. 

The blood came from her throat, which 
had been hacked apart until her head was 
nearly severed from her shoulders. That 
head, that glorious head, with its glassy 
eyes that had laughed so glad and carefree 
into mine. The moon with its mysterious 
soft luminescence made more vivid her 
virginal pallor, more scarlet the gruesome 
star at her throat. 

The wound was horribly enlarged, as if 
it had been seized by the open edges and 
ripped apart, again, again, by some rend- 
ing instrument. Or — by hands, of unnatur- 
al strength. 

I felt the cold saliva trickle down the 
inner walls of my cheeks. 

Yet in spite of the pounding in me, the 
paralysis of horror, I did not feel surprise. 
I seemed to know everything about that 
body, its disposition, how it lay. 

Something deep in me groaned, as 
though to say: "You are lost. There is 
nothing you can do. 

"My God !" I heard Grey Harning ejac- 
ulate. "What fiend has done this?" 

"The Beast of the Sheridans," someone 
said in a quivering breath like a sigh. 

A vicelike, frozen silence held us all, in 
that impenetrable, moon-drenched wood. 
An owl swooping high overhead hooted a 
soft syllable. It made everyone stare up- 
ward, their faces shaken, stricken. 

"Caroline !" broke out one voice. "What 
of Caroline?" 

"W/ITH a sudden movement the group 

" was galvanized into action. "Frank !" 

cried Grey, "you go this way — take Will 


Dime Mystery Magazine 

with you — search the east woods — I'll 
phone the police — Lyle and John, you 
take the woods to the west !" His eyes fell 
on me. "Bruce, you take the premises 
around the house !" 

"Yes," I nodded. As I passed through 
the group I saw several, seeing me unex- 
pectedly, shrink from me with involuntary 
aversion. I ran on heavily toward the 
house. I did not seem to know where I 
was going. My head was reeling in chaos. 
I could not breathe; my brain was ring- 
ing like brass. Had I done this ? I tore at 
my throat for air ; my eyes went over those 
blighting tree-tops to the unfathomable 
sky. My soul seemed to cry out o-f itself, 
as if for a second, in tremendous agony, 
it threw off a horrible weight. God, God 
help me, I cried, You know my heart ; I 
swear I am innocent before You ! 

That second's cry was swallowed up in 
the impenetrable night. 

Confusion engulfed me once more, and 
something approaching madness. I ran, 

I came up suddenly at a wall in the 
darkness before me. Without knowing it 
I had blundered to the back of the house. 
I could see the dark outline of the clipped 
hedge ; I felt along it, turned the corner. 
Here the wood encroached, sliced with 
squares of light from the house windows. 
Half in shadow were the back stairs. I 
plunged up them without knowing why. 
It seemed almost as though some force 
outside myself were telling me what to do 
— and I had no strength to disobey those 

As I ran through the lower rooms I felt 
the house was deserted. There was no 
sound. But — yes — my ear caught some- 
thing. A footfall, distinct, quick — upstairs. 

I ran that way. As I came up from the 
shadow of the stairhead I stopped short. 

The housekeeper was before me. 

She wore something long, clinging and 
dark; on her bare feet were the merest 
wisps of high-heeled, red sandals. 

I looked into those malevolent, beautiful 
eyes. They were black in the semi-dark- 
ness, black as the pits of hell, burning with 
a sultry fire. As she parted her lips in a 
smile I could see the tip of her red moist 
tongue between her teeth. 

"You have come back," she said. 

She moved close to me. The sensuous 
atmosphere of her presence enveloped me ; 
my nostrils were filled again with that al- 
luring, exotic scent. 

"You are tired," she said. "Very tired. 
You must rest." 

Her eyes, languorous, inscrutable be- 
hind their long lashes, swept me with a 
caressing look. I could see the pulsing 
throb in the white column of her throat. 

"Come with me," she said, and taking 
me by the hand, she drew me down the 

My silence was not due to stupefaction. 
It was due to the hellish, burning desire 
that reared its bestial head at sight of her. 
Every movement of her graceful body, 
moving ahead of me, seemed to suck my 
very veins with hunger. 

She drew me into a darkened room. It 
seemed the antechamber of a bedroom ; it 
was littered with couches. It rose above 
me in a vault of darkness ; I could see 
neither the ceiling nor the walls. A light 
on a branching, ornate candlestick made 
a nimbus of radiance at one side. There 
was a smell of richness in it ; I could bare- 
ly see the rich hangings, obscurely in the 
dark; it breathed an Oriental, incense- 
like odor, clinging, aphrodisiac, that 
soothed the senses. 

She drew me beside her, sitting on a 
low lounge. She crossed her knees with a 
sensuous movement; down the graceful 
fold that marked her leg I could see her 
bare foot, in its red slipper, tilted toward 
me. She still kept her tapering fingers on 
mine ; she transfixed me with a slow smile 
that revealed the depths of her dark eyes. 
The touch of her fingers seemed to send 
jets and barbs of fire up my arm. 

I Am the Beast! 


"Your brain is twisted like a knot," she 
said. "Tight, tight. As though someone 
were drawing the ends to the breaking 

I passed ray hand over my face. "Yes, 
yes," I muttered. 

Again I could feel her breath on my 
cheek. "Your mind is screaming like a 
stretched wire. As though one more touch 
on that wire would shatter it to pieces." 

"God, yes," I breathed. 

TTER voice dropped like honey. "In me 
■ you will find solace," she said. "Put 
your head here." She put her slim fingers 
around my neck, pressed my head into the 
warm juncture of her neck and shoulder. 
"Rest, rest quietly — here you can be at 

Though the dark, clinging robe covered 
her from head to foot, I was sure she wore 
nothing beneath it. I swung like a straw 
between the horror of my experiences and 
the mad intoxication of her nearness. Yet 
I sensed a touch of horror here, something 
dread ahead. Tired, maddened as I was, 
some obscure part of me was fighting 
against her. 

"They will not find you here," she said. 

"They!" I jerked up my head. "Who?" 

"The other — your friends." 

I licked my dry lips, staring at her. 
What was she saying, what was she telling 
me, with her evil eyes? 

"I know you did it," she said. "I, and I 
alone. Come, do not be afraid of me. I told 
you I was your friend — that was here to 
help you." 

She put her hands on my shoulders, 
holding me at arms' length. The movement 
swept back the full sleeves of her robe, 
revealing her bare white arms to the shoul- 
ders. Her red lips parted again. I could see 
them glisten. 

"Tell me about it," she said softly. "Did 
you hack her with a knife ?" 

I could feel my face tremble with the 
violence of my emotions. 

"Who?" I articulated. 

"Joyce," she said. "Joyce, the one you 
murdered. Did you tear, as is always his 
sign, the edges of the wound like a star ?" 

"Whose sign?" I asked hoarsely. 

She leaned toward me. The black light 
seemed to leap out of her eyes. 

"Our master," she said. "The Beast. 
The Beast you saw in the moonlight." 

With a gagging movement I tore myself 
from her, standing upright. "Who are 
you?" I gasped. "What makes you speak 
as you do? What do you know of what 
happened ?" 

"I know all," she said. Her voice was 
vibrant, now, her eyes wells of black tri- 
umph. "All. I know you followed her from 
the car and murdered her horribly in the 
woods — at his bidding — Ms, the master. 
Why should I not know, when I, too, am 
his creature and do his will?" 

She came to me and with a soft move- 
ment fitted her body against my own. I 
could feel her bare arms, from behind, 
encircling my back and shoulders. 

"Why struggle?" she breathed. "It is all 
over now. It is done." 

My mind seemed to be exploding. Again 
my brain teetered like a spinning bauble 
between two madnesses — the madness of 
her and the madness of conviction of the 
deed I must have done. For a second I 
felt like shouting out in maniacal laughter, 
seizing her and drowning myself in her 
beauty. Then that tiny part of me, that 
edge still struggling blindly, fought briefly 

My mouth made cracked sounds. My 
voice did not seem to obey me. "As God 
is my witness," I croaked out, "I did not 
do it!" 

She withdrew from me with a supple 
movement. As she did so, one whole bare 
leg, from red slipper to symmetrical thigh, 
was displayed for a second and then dis- 
appeared in its folds. She fixed me with 
her fathomless eyes. A slow smile, mock- 
ing, crept over her face. 


Dime Mystery Magazine 

"You do not think so ?" she said. "Look, 
I will show you." 

She stepped to me again, and with a 
deft movement of her slender hands she 
opened my shirt. She spread apart the 
clothes to reveal my bare breast. 

On it were prints — prints of blood — 
small, convulsed hand-prints — of piteous, 
feminine, delicate hands, tearing in suppli- 
cation against the strength that had torn 
the life from them. 


The Pit Of Doom 

JOYCE'S! No other—they could be no 
other ! A tortured noise came from me 
I closed my eyes to try to blot out that 
damning, implacable evidence. Now I 
could see those black eyes again, that in- 
scrutable white face, moving before me 
with the rapid motion of a snake's head. 

"What did you do with Caroline?" she 

I could not scream. I hung there voice- 
less, my body quivering like the jarred 
pendulum of a clock. Again she was close 
to me. "Peace," she breathed, "it is all 
over — and now comes your reward." 

She put my hands on her rich flesh. 
Then, moving from me with a lithe move- 
ment, she stepped into the shadows and 
opened a door. 

I saw dimly the outlines of a richly 
caparisoned bed. 

Something came out of that room — 
something intangible, an indescribable 
emanation ; it cut the perfume of the room 
like a knife, suggesting horrors beyond 
the bounds of human imagination. 

"Come," she said. 

She enfolded me once more ; I could feel 
the voluptuous curves of her warm body 
through the soft material throbbing against 
my own. That small bit of sanity in me 
fought through blindly again. 

"No," I said. 

"Come," she said, her voice more 
throaty, imperative, her eyes avid. 

"Nol" I repeated, and with a violent 
movement I threw her off. 

She stood in the doorway. With a single 
motion she opened her robe and stood nude 
before me. 

As I crossed that threshold a constric- 
tion came over my soul like ice. 

I stopped. Everything good, everything 
sane, everything decent in me seemed to 
be fighting a death struggle against the 
lure of this woman. She appeared to sense 
it. Nude, with her robe parted like great 
silken wings, she threw herself upon me, 
winding herself about me like a vine. 

Then I saw something beneath the cur- 
tains of the bed. 

It was the face I had seen in the glade. 
It was the face of the Beast. Hideous, 
unspeakably vile, its mouth gaping in the 
blubber-lipped smile of a Congo witch- 
mask, it stared at me. I saw its misshapen 
body move under the silken litter of cover- 
lets strewn on the bed. 

A scream burst from me. 

But even as I screamed, a vestige of real- 
ization struck at the corner of my mind — 
the thing was tangible — the thing was 
there. This was nothing filling my mind's 
horizon and blotting out my soul — it was 
there before me, no bigger than that bed, 
under those coverlets. 

I think it was that that saved my reason. 

I let out a horrible cry of rage. This 
was something I could get my hands on ; 
something I could break and tear. I leaped 
for it. The woman gave a scream ; dropped 
to the floor as I sprang forward. She 
writhed her supple length about my leg, 
so that I fell short of the bed. I was like 
a wild man. The room was absolutely 
black. I tore, beat, struck at the bed; I 
threw the woman from me. I caught up a 
chair, and flailing like a thresher in the 
darkness, I smashed the bed — smashed it, 
smashed every piece of it, smashed the 
corners, the hangings, the paneled walls. 

/ Am the Beast! 


Splinters rained around me, I was panting 
like a gorilla. I sprang to the wall and 
flashed the light on. 

Empty. Not a trace of the thing with 
the mask-like face. I whirled to the ante- 
room. The woman was just whisking away, 
her robe flying like a banner from her 
white body. I seized her. I picked her up 
bodily off the floor. 

"You hell-witch!" I rasped. "You led 
me here — you brought me to him — where 
is he — the Beast — where has he gone?" 

I HELD her overhead like a Hun holding 
a woman at the sack of Rome. I would 
have dashed her brains out on the floor. 
But hands gripped me from behind. I let 
ber drop, whirling. 

"Bruce !" 

"My God, what's going on?" 

"Hold him !" 

Four men had me pinioned. The woman, 
snatching her robe about her nudity, 
jabbed a frienzied arm at me. 

"He came in here and tried to kill me !" 
she shrieked. "He did it! He did it! He 
murdered Joyce!" 

"What's this?" gasped voices. 

I looked panting at the ring of faces, 
saw Grey, Frank, Tom Scott, the women. 
Someone had turned on the light. The 
place looked like a shambles. 

I found my voice. It was more like a 
hoarse roar. 

"She is the accomplice of the Beast!" 
I bellowed. "She is his partner ! The Beast 
is in that room !" 

"He is the murderer of Joyce!" 
screamed the housekeeper, her eyes like 
hell-fire, her hair disheveled. "Look — if 
you don't believe it— look at his chest !" 

Her outflung hand pointed to my shirt, 
which, torn open, revealed the extent of 
my bare breast. 

"What is this?" said Grey, stepping up 
to me. "My God— a woman's hands— in 
blood !" 

A shudder of fear was on their faces. 

"Bruce !" 

"Where did those come from?" 

"His brain has snapped 1" 

I suddenly recognized Dr. Hansen's 
quivering face. "My God ! I feared this !" 

The housekeeper's voice lashed the air 
like a whip. "He tried to kill me ! Me ! Me, 
too, like Joyce and Caroline ! Ask him 
where Caroline is !" 

Dr. Hansen said in a steady voice: 
"Where is Caroline?" 

Before those unflinching eyes my whole 
being seemed to collapse. My eyes dropped. 
"In the cistern," I muttered. 

I could take no account of what I did 
or said. I was past that point. In the 
silence that followed I could hear the 
woman's strident peal of demoniac 
laughter. "He knows ! He knows 1" 

Frank Jameson's eyes were on me, 
shocked, glassy, like the eyes of a dead 
man. "Bruce! How do you know?" 

"It was — just a guess," I muttered. 

"My God — " I heard the doctor's voice 
—"there is a cistern under the house — 
connected with an old tunnel — but I don't 
know how to get to it !" 

At that moment a woman's scream 
bubbled up to us. It seemed to come from 
the bowels of the earth. I felt the short 
hair stand erect on my neck. 

"Amy !" I gasped. 

"Amy — she has found the body !" 

"Where? Where?" gasped voices. 

"I will show you !" I cried. 

T LEAPED ahead of them for the hall. 
**■ Again, as in the wood, I seemed to 
know where I was going. My feet, as by 
their own volition, led me unerringly down 
the staircase. We plunged down corri- 
dors, stairways, into the foul, dark clammy 
reek of the cellar. Frank Jameson's flash- 
light stabbed the darkness ; we saw black, 
mildewing, cob-webbed barrels, walls ooz- 
ing a clammy sweat of damp. The rest 
were confused; only I knew the way, 
seemed to chart it as by instinct in the 


Dime Mystery Magazine 

darkness. I seized Frank's flashlight, 
played it around a far, barrel-choked, filth- 
grimed recess. 

"There — there — is the entrance !" I 
cried. I turned on them. My eyes were 
rolling. A horrible, confused sound like 
a moan issued from my throat. "I know 
what is in there — and I did it!" 

Aghast, they shrank from me. I was 
listening to my own voice, struck as dumb 
as they. The men were by me, tearing down 
the barrels. They revealed a dark opening, 
like a tunnel. 

A vague light flitted far back on the 
rounded ceiling — and disappeared. 

We plunged down the tunnel. Ahead of 
me someone cried out as we looked down 
into the cylinder of a cistern. Frank seized 
the light from me, stabbed its ray down- 

A shuddering gasp came from every 

There lay the nude body of Caroline, 
outflung like Joyce's, white stomach upper- 
most, completely revealed in the shallow 
water. The slimy ooze played around her 
graceful sides, touching her breasts as 
though with clammy tenderness. There — 
there — was the crimson star on her throat, 
mingling with the black water. 

Frank Jameson turned on me with a 
contorted grey face. "You — you — you are 
the Beast — you did this." 

I felt hands seize me. I tore myself from 
their grasp — I leaped into that black cylin- 

Perhaps I wished to destroy myself. 
Perhaps it was reflex action — there was no 
other way of escape. Down, down, I 
hurtled ; struck the irregular wall, rico- 
cheted, struck a ledge, tumbled off. I hit the 
bottom, scrabbling and splashing in the 
slimy ooze almost over the body of Caro- 
line. Half-stunned, I reeled up, and saw — 

The cistern bellied out at the bottom like 
a bell. In the darkness was Amy, strug- 
gling in the dutches of the Beast! 

I saw his face — that hideous, unspeak- 

able face — the writhing of his body — 
Amy's golden hair, whipping above the 
gag on her face. He had nearly succeeded 
in ripping the clothes from her ; one rose- 
tipped breast was thrust toward me, one 
throbbing haunch quivered in his filthy 
grasp. I dove for him, closed with him, 
an axe sheered by me, we tumbled into the 
pit. He was cold, slimy, stinking. I smashed 
that unspeakable face, I saw the nostrils 
rip. He writhed from me; his body was 
coated with ooze, it slipped like grease 
through my fingers. He was up, trying 
to haul down something like a portcullis 
that hid the entrance from above. I was 
baying like a wolf. I hit him head down 
like a bull; I drove him beneath me; I 
slugged him again, again. I heard the roar 
of the portcullis overhead. I sank my 
fingers into those hideous features, ripping 
them. The face came oft" with the brittle 
rip of a mask and I found myself looking 
into the handsome face of Ralph Hansen ! 

T CAME to in the quiet, sun-filled 

-*• warmth of a hospital room. My family 
doctor was leaning over me ; on a chair 
beside me Amy was sitting, her golden 
hair glorious in the sun, her blue eyes 
shining with love, my great hand clasped 
in both her little ones. 

I saw joy leap in her eyes. "He'll be all 
right?" she asked the doctor. 

Dr. Parmalee smiled. "Yes," he said re- 
assuringly, "nothing serious — a fractured 
collar-bone and a few bad bruises. My 
boy," he said, sitting down beside me, 
"you can thank this constitution of yours 
for saving you last night. For saving your 
sanity." His eyes were grave. 

"What—" I murmured. "Who — it was 
Ralph — Ralph Hansen — " 

My mind was full of confused recol- 
lections of last night. 

"Yes," said Dr. Parmalee, "it was 
Ralph Hansen. And Dr. Hansen. As you 
know, Caroline Sheridan fell heir to an 
enormous fortune. The doctor was hand 

/ Am the Beast! 


in glove with his brother to get her for- 
tune. By a codicil of the will, the inherit- 
ance reverted not to Caroline's husband, 
but to the remaining sister, Joyce, if Caro- 
line predeceased her. Therefore it was 
necessary to put both girls out of the way. 

"Dr. Hansen had, in the years since 
you knew him, fallen in bad circumstances, 
lost his reputation, and became a morphine 
addict ; so that he was an easy tool for 
his brother's schemes. Ralph Hansen knew 
about you, knew about the legend of the 
Beast, and decided to combine them to 
make of you the perfect scapegoat. 

"Caroline invited you to the house-party, 
unsuspectingly, and the doctor met you at 
the station in a specially prepared limou- 
sine. He released an ether compound in 
the tonneau which drugged the occupants. 
With the chauffeur, a henchman of 
Ralph's, they carried you both into the 

"Because of the long years you had spent 
under the doctor's psychological domin- 
ance, you were an absolutely ideal prey 
for his powers of suggestion. As you re- 
covered from the drug, he put your mind 
again under the power of hypnosis he had 
used so much on you in the past. 

"Hypnotism cannot make a man do what 
is utterly repugnant to his nature, like 
murder — but a hypnotist can implant 
commands in the subject's brain which he 
will carry out after the hypnosis — pro- 
vided again these commands are relatively 
simple and not heinous or atrocious. They 
could not make you murder the girls, but 
they could make you admit the murder. 
While you were hypnotized in the woods 
all the commands were implanted in your 
brain which made you give yourself away 
as the murderer — knowledge of the loca- 
tion of the bodies, the lies you spoke, the 
very words of confession. When you re- 
covered, you carried them out. 

"Joyce did not recover. They stripped 

and murdered her alongside you, not ten 
minutes after Ralph had murdered Caro- 
line in the cistern. They plunged your 
hand in Joyce's blood, and daubed her 
handprints on your breast. 

"The housekeeper was Ralph's para- 
mour. She was to lead you to the African 
witch-mask that was held before you dur- 
ing your hypnosis. It had been imprinted 
on your mind as the face of the Beast. 
They hoped the shock of seeing it in real- 
ity, would crack your mental balance. 
That would have made a perfect motive. 
As Caroline's old lover, you had gone in- 
sane through rage and jealousy and com- 
mitted the murders. 

"But you must have sensed a human 
being behind that mask." Parmalee 
reached out and patted my hand. "The 
doctor confessed everything before he 
took an overdose of morphine and died 
this morning. Ralph did not wait that 
long. He cut his throat with his own 

I looked at Amy. "But you — how did 
you get into that monster's hands ?" 

"When I ran from you," she said, "I 
wished to get away — away from every- 
body. I wandered over the house, and 
finally into the cellar. There I came on 
Ralph putting on the mask and daubing 
himself with black grease. He bound and 
gagged me, and but for you, there would 
have been two bodies in the cistern." 

"Thank God," I said. 

A sense of release, peace, and great 
thankfulness flooded over me. I closed my 
eyes, and when I opened them again the 
doctor was gone, Amy and I were alone. 

I pulled her to me. In her eyes I saw 
no recrimination about the incident with 
that demoniac woman, no accusation, only 
infinite tenderness and infinite love. I 
closed my eyes again, holding her pliant 
body to me. 

H I 5 TORY* 


No. J: William Stewart, the Monster of the Mary Russell 


ON THE morning or May 9th, 
1828, the brig Mary Russell lay 
off the port of Barbadoes, her 
hold bulging with a cargo of sugar, hides 
and tropical fruit-plants. She was about 
to undertake the return voyage to Cork, 

A commonplace little craft, this Mary 
Russell, with a commonplace crew and a 
nondescript captain. The crew consisted 

of six young men: Smith, chief mate; 
Swanson, second mate ; Cramer, cook ; 
seamen Howes, Keating and Sullivan ; 
cabin boys Richards, 13, and Deaves, 15. 

History's Gallery of Monsters 


There were also four passengers : Murley, 
Raynes, Connell and a 12-year-old Eng- 
lish lad, Hammond. 1 

The captain was one William Stewart, 
a frail little man with sunken chest and 
spindly legs, a shock of flaming red hair 
and a complexion white as a flounder's 
belly. He looked more like a clerk or a 
salesman than a sailor fitted to captain an 
arduous voyage, let alone control the des- 
tinies of twelve human beings. 

But aside from the seeming inadequacy 
of the captain, the crew, the ship and the 
proposed voyage appeared to be the es- 
sence of the commonplace. Certainly, there 
came to those very ordinary men and boys 
no foreboding of the shuddering horror 
which awaited them beyond the horizon, 
a horror unequalled before or since in the 
annals of the sea. 

rpOWARDS noon of the fateful day the 
brig uphauled anchor and with her 
sails bellying glided gracefully out of the 
harbor. Three hours later the island had 
sunk below the horizon and the ship, the 
souls aboard her were infinitesimal entities 
in the vast, inscrutable bosom of the sea, 
their lives, their activities, their very 
thoughts under the domination of the little 
man with red hair. It was the law of the 
sea. His will was law. To dispute it 
placed a man in jeopardy of his life, for 
in those days mutiny was tantamount to 
high treason. 

But the crew and the passengers of the 
Mary Russell had no reason to fear harsh 
treatment. Stewart was known for his 
kindliness and his ability. He was said 
to be an excellent commander, while in 
his private life he was known as a good 
husband and father, sober and God-fear- 

On the first night out this admirable 
man summoned the entire crew to his 
cabin and there loosed a thunderbolt. The 
men were not sure they could trust their 

"Men," said he, his little eyes darting 
queerly from face to face, "I have reason 
to believe that there are those among you 
who plan mutiny !" 

A cry of disbelief. Mutiny ! The thing 
was incredible. Every one of them had 
clean records. They were honest, decent 
seamen, intent only on earning a living, 
not pirates and cutthroats. John Howes 
stepped forward. 

"Good God, sir, there must be a mis- 
take ! I, for one, am loyal — " 

The little captain cut him off with an 
imperious wave of his hand. "I have good 
and sufficient reasons for my belief. I 
have had a dream. In it God appeared to 
me and warned me that that man — " His 
finger shot out towards the baffled figure 
of the passenger, Raynes — "is planning to 
murder me and seize the ship !" 

Raynes, whose only fault was excessive 
drinking, flung himself forward, babbling 
protest. But Stewart, his eyes gleaming 
strangely, went on, "Oh, I have other in- 
dications. I have watched him all day. He 
spends too much time in the fo'c's'le. He 
talks in Erse so that I won't understand. 
I heard him asking Howes here how to 
navigate the ship." 

All the men were protesting violently 
now. Stewart suddenly whipped out two 
pistols and slapped them down on the 
table before him. "I'll hear no more. But 
this is fair warning. The first man who 
so much as whispers mutiny I'll shoot 
down like a dog. I mean to bring this 
ship safely into Cork ! Now go to your 
posts, all of you." 

A ND thus dismissed, a group of sadly 
•^*" bewildered, gaping men withdrew 
from the captain's cabin. It was clear to 
all of them that something strange, ab- 
normal was afoot, but what none knew. 
As the night deepened a sense of appre- 
hension, of hovering terror entered their 
souls and they trod softly, all of them, as 
though walking in a nightmare. 


Dime Mystery Magazine 

As the days passed Stewart's suspicions 
grew increasingly violent. The most in- 
nocent incidents and remarks he inter- 
preted as indications of brewing mutiny. 
Again he summoned the entire crew on 
deck. They noticed that his eyes were 
wilder, his gestures more violent. He 
blazed at them. 

"I'm certain of it now ! Some of you 
are planning mutiny. Out with it. Con- 
fess now and it will go easier with you, 
I warn you." 

The men stared helplessly from one to 
the other and made no answer. 

"So that's the way of it, eh? Very well, 
then, I'll show you that you'll never seize 
this ship no matter what may become of 

So saying he ordered the boy, Deaves, 
to fetch up all the ship's instruments and 
the log. He then took them into his own 
hands and one by one flung them into the 
churning sea. 

"Now, try to navigate the ship alone, 
if you dare !" 

He pivoted on his heels and left them. 

To the modern reader it will seem odd 
that the crew and passengers failed to take 
immediate action. It would seem that, 
believing themselves innocent, they would 
force the captain to prove his charges or 
remain silent. But such was the fear of 
mutiny instilled in every man's heart that 
not one of them ventured to speak out. 

They did nothing and Stewart pro- 
ceeded with his own devious plans. The 
next morning the men noted with some 
alarm that he had armed himself from 
head to foot. He not only carried two 
pistols, but a harpoon and a crowbar as 
well. 2 

It was on the night of June 18th that 
the captain's suspicions came to a head. 
Smith, the chief mate, had occasion to 
visit the storeroom several times for pro- 
visions and tools. His footsteps awakened 
the captain. He waited until dawn, then, 
arming himself with a harpoon, ap- 

proached the spot where Smith lay sleep- 
ing, jolted him awake. 

He announced in an eerie, far away 
voice, "It is well for you that you're here 
and not below with the crew. Otherwise 
I would have to put you to death as a 

Smith's mouth worked soundlessly, but 
sheer amazement kept him from speaking. 

Stewart shook the harpoon at him, rais- 
ing his voice to a shrill scream. "You are 
the chief instigator !'* 

The din brought the others on deck. 
They gathered around expressing their 
innocence. And strangely a subtle change 
came over the captain. He smiled and 
observed soothingly, "I believe you. You 
are all honest men except Smith. Tie him 

This the men hotly refused to do and 
walked off. Stewart quivered with rage. 
Here at last was overt mutiny ! The more 
he thought of it the more his fury mounted 
until he was a trembling, purple-faced 
fiend of rage. He backed against the rail, 
his pistols cocked, clearly ready to shoot 
the first man who dared show his face. 

Observing him at a distance in this ap- 
palling excitement three of the men, Keat- 
ing, Connell and Swanson went below and 
confronted Smith. 

"Look here, old man," Keating told 
him, "the captain is beside himself with 
anger. Just to placate him let us tie you 
up. Then he'll calm down and everything 
will be peacefully settled." 

At first Smith objected, then, thinking 
it over, capitulated. He extended his hands 
meekly and the three seamen trussed him 
up. They then reported to Stewart. What 
they had done appeared to please him. He 
ordered them to place Smith on the floor 
of the storeroom. This, too, they did and 
from that moment on the captain person- 
ally supervised the unfortunate mate. 
Three times he visited him, once to test 
the lashings, again to bring him some 
food, and a third time, when he saw that 

History's Gallery of Monsters 


the mate was suffocating in that airless 
hole, to drill a vent in the ceiling. 

But still Stewart was not satisfied and 
in his mind there seethed a plan which 
remains among the most fantastic things 
ever done by a seaman. Stewart fancied 
himself as one man pitted against an entire 
crew of mutineers and he determined to 
sail the ship alone ! He planned to tie up 
every one of them ! 

T^HE brig was about four hundred miles 
off Cape Clear and heading towards 
the mouth of the English channel when 
Stewart put the first part of this amazing 
plan into action. First he must have ac- 
complices, some one he could trust. All 
the men, he firmly believed, were mutin- 
ous. There remained only the three boys. 

In selecting them Stewart was cunning. 
He knew how easily the minds of children 
succumb to adventure, exciting respon- 
sibilities. He began a shrewd campaign 
to sell them the idea that he and they 
must be the heroes of the occasion, must 
wrest the ship from the mutineers and 
bring it safely back to England. Although 
the captain's pale face and twitching hands 
somewhat disquieted them, the boys were 
soon convinced that the safety of the ship 
lay in their hands. 

The captain was ready to strike. At two 
o'clock on the afternoon of June 21st Cou- 
ncil, one of the passengers, was informed 
by Hammond that the captain wanted to 
see him a moment in his cabin. Obediently 
Connell went below, turned into the tiny 
cabin. The fierce little man with red hair 
faced him with a cocked pistol. 

"Confess," he roared at him, "or I'll 
blow your brains out !" 

Connell could only shake his head 
dazedly. Stewart gave a signal, where- 
upon Hammond and Richards rushed out 
from a cabinet in which they had been 
hiding and secured Connell's legs and 

In this way six members of the crew 

were decoyed into the captain's cabin, 
pinioned and flung, bound and helpless, 
into the cramped, black hole where Smith 
still lay. Stewart slammed the door shut. 
They were alone in the dark. 

It was Smith who abruptly screamed 
at them through cracked, parched lips, 
"You bloody fools! Don't you realize? 
We are at the mercy of a raving maniac .'" 

TPOR the first time the shattering truth 
-*- exploded in their numbed brains. The 
captain of that ship, the man who had 
piloted crew after crew over the high seas, 
was a dangerous, murderous fiend ! 

Only a man accustomed to the sea can 
appreciate the full horror of this. Be- 
tween them and icy waters, fathoms deep 
and haunted by killer monsters, were only 
the frail boards of that little brig and on 
the l>rig, in complete, God-like control of 
their lives was a human monster, mad 
and bloodthirsty, cunning and more vi- 
cious than any shark or devil-fish of the 

Modern psychologists could no doubt 
have diagnosed Stewart's terrible mad- 
ness. Here was a little man, a man who 
was physically weak, obscure, a nobody 
on land and at sea just an ordinary sailor. 
Unquestionably from childhood he had 
been the butt of stronger men's cruel jests. 
Here was a perfect clinical picture of the 
paranoiac, maddened by a lifetime of per- 
secution real or fancied and, with a meas- 
ure of power thrust upon him, insanely 
lusting to vent revenge. It is significant 
that all the members of the Mary Russell's 
crew were bigger and more powerful than 

Two members of the crew still remained 
at freedom, Howes and Murley. It was 
not long before they, too, were cast into 
the horrible hold beneath water level. That 
left Stewart and the three boys in sole 
control of the ship. The horror had only 

The torture of being confined in black- 


Dime Mystery Magazine 

ness, lashed by rough, biting rope was un- 
bearable, Murley succeeded in partially 
freeing his hands. When Stewart, on one 
of his periodic visits to the storeroom, saw 
this he devised an even more brutal tor- 
ture. He obtained a long, thick rope and 
fashioned it into seven nooses — Howes, 
thought to be the most dangerous muti- 
neer, had been lashed to the mast — which 
he slipped around each prisoner's neck. 
He then secured the rope to staples ham- 
mered into the deck so that to avoid 
strangulation the men had to lie perfectly 

The men realized at last with paralyz- 
ing terror that they were doomed to re- 
main thus until the ship reached port. 
That would be in more than a week's 
time. No man could live a week under 
those conditions. Already there limbs 
were swollen and blackened. One of them, 
Keating, had gone mad, shrieking hor- 
ribly, foam flecking his lips. The hold 
was being transformed into a howling 
madhouse. Blood flowed from the men's 
bodies where the ropes cut the flesh and 
more than one of them strained deliber- 
ately against the noose to end their un- 
bearable agonies. And with its bleeding, 
screaming human cargo the Mary Russell 
sailed on toward England. 

A FTER he had tied the nooses Stewart 
-*"*■ went up on deck to discover that 
Howes had loosened his pinions. With a 
final wrench he tore himself loose and 
faced the captain. But he was unarmed. 
Not vso, Stewart, who gripped two pistols. 
"And now," rasped the maniac men- 
acingly, "will you confess to mutiny!" 

"Never, you bloody fiend!" Howes 
flung back at him. 

"Then I must tie you again." 

"You'll have to catch me first." 

Howes wheeled and dashed down the 

deck. Stewart emptied both barrels at his 

retreating back. One missed. The other 

smashed Howes thumb. The sailor 

emitted a howl of pain and kept running. 
Stewart reloaded and dashed after him. 
The pistols barked again. And this time 
a ball embedded itself in Howes' thigh. 
The man dropped to the deck, groaning 
horribly. "Oh, God, God, there's fire in 
my entrails!" 

He lay still. 

Stewart motioned to the terrified boys 
who had witnessed the entire scene. "He's 
dead," he told them. 

Actually Howes was playing possum, 
hoping that Stewart would leave him. But 
his arm twitched involuntarily. Stewart, 
seeing the movement, levelled his pistol 
and shot point-blank. Lead ripped through 
the man's groin. 

He looked up helplessly at the captain. 
"I'm done. That does it," he said pite- 

"Oh, no," the captain replied, "your 
voice is still too strong. But I'll take care 
of that." 

He thrust harpoons into the hands of 
the boys and moved cautiously towards 
Howes. There was still strength left in 
the sailor's arms. He struggled to his feet, 
determined to make a fight for it. Ste- 
wart went white with fear and backed 
away. He called to the boys. "Strike! 
Push your harpoons into him 1" 

For an instant the boys hesitated, ap- 
pealed to Stewart. He screamed at them. 
"Strike, I tell you !" 

Drugged by those long days of horror, 
in mortal terror of the captain, they flung 
themselves on Howes. The ensuing strug- 
gle was fearful. Howes sprang aside and 
leaped upon Stewart, bringing him to the 
deck. His powerful hands closed over the 
madman's throat and he began to squeeze 
the life from him. But the boys, pitifully 
misguided, approached Howes from be- 
hind, cracked down with the harpoons. 
They tore deep gashes in his head and 
back. His grip slackened and he crashed 
backwards. And still he was not dead. 
But Stewart was too frightened to finish 

History's Gallery of Monsters 


him off. He ran below and the boys fol- 

Howes crawled away, bleeding from a 
score of wounds, and collapsed among 
some hogsheads of sugar in the hold. 

QTEWART'S madness now reached its 
^ climax. With Howes alive and hiding 
some place aboard the danger of mutiny 
appeared overwhelming. Something must 
be done. It is evidence of Stewart's utter 
insanity that he now entered the hold 
where seven men lay dying and delivered 
a sermon of the most pious nature. He 
declared that he held nothing against 
them, that he loved them all, but it was 
his bounden duty to protect his ship 
against mutiny. He was even deeply 
moved by their sufferings and offered to 
release them if they would take the long- 
boat and cast themselves adrift. They 
gladly accepted. 

Stewart was about to free them when 
fear again seized him. He surveyed them 
sadly, bid them a tearful farewell and left 
the hold. Their last hope was gone. 

But in his mad, twisted way Stewart 
for a moment believed he was willing to 
spare them if only the dangers of mutiny 
could be avoided. Accordingly, as he 
spied a sail, he signalled it, determined to 
seek aid. This man, who had all but mur- 
dered one sailor and was in the act of 
murdering the others, actually signalled a 
ship to rescue him ! 

The ship hove to. Then, seeing the 
empty decks, suspected a pirate-trap and 
made off. The incident was to have a 
ghastly effect. At first the captain be- 
wailed his desperate plight. Then, think- 
ing about it, suddenly came to the belief, 
with a true madman's logic, that the de- 
parture of the ship was a sign from God, 
a judgment upon the mutineers. The last 
shred of reason snapped in his mind and 
he became in that instant a wild, kill- 
crazy fiend. He flung aside his pistols, 
picked up a crowbar and burst into 

the hold, followed by the three boys. 

His terrible cry echoed shrilly in that 
Hell-hole. "The curse of God is on you 
all !" 

With their last ebbing strength the 
men strained at their lashings, tried to sit 
up. The whites of their eyes gleamed 
weirdly in the blackness. Stewart strode 
up to the first man, raised the crowbar 
and smashed it down on his skull. It en- 
tered deep into his brain like a knife cut- 
ting butter, sending blood cascading over 
the floor-planks, spouting up into Ste- 
wart's sweat-glistening face. The man 
fell backwards and again the crowbar de- 
scended, mashing his nose, jaw, forehead 
into an obscene horror of splintered bone 
and flesh. 

A pitiful moaning, a last appeal for 
mercy burst from the men's throats. Stew- 
art howled like a mad hyena, laughed 
crazily. "You ruffians ! I'll kill you all ! 
You wanted to take my life; now I'll take 
yours \" 

The taste of blood had given a new 
turn to his madness. Whereas first he was 
concerned only with what he sincerely 
believed was his duty. Now he craved 
bloodshed for its own sake. 

TTE WAS standing over the second 
man, Connell. Eyes wide with terror 
glared up at him. They maddened him, 
those pinpoints of white flame. He 
stabbed at them with the end of the crow- 
bar. They drowned in sudden upswirl- 
ing pools of crimson. Wielding his weap- 
on like a medieval battle-axe, he slashed 
back and forth, breaking Connell's head as 
though it were a flower-pot. 

Then Keating and Murley and Sullivan. 
His craving for blood had accelerated. He 
could not kill fast enough. He delighted, 
thrilled in the unending fountain of blood, 
lunging at them all haphazardly, striking 
out at all of them. 

Raynes was the last, Raynes whom 
Stewart had thought the original insti- 


Dime Mystery Magazine 

gator of the mutiny. He told him, "James, 
I once put a curse on you. Now I take it 

The man implored mercy in the name 
of God. 

"The devil is your God !" Stewart re- 
plied and again the crowbar descended, 
crushing through the man's chest and jaw. 

Wildly Stewart looked around him. 
The three boys who had witnessed the 
butchery were cowering in the doorway, 
whimpering. Stewart ignored them. 

His gaze rested on the mutilated bodies. 
Suddenly a movement. What, not dead 
yet? He flung the crowbar from him and 
took up an axe. He plunged himself into 
a fresh frenzy of slaughter. He was like 
a mad butcher loosed in a slaughter- 
house. He literally chopped the battered 
flesh around him into small bits until he 
stood ankle-deep in blood, until brain and 
bone and fragments of flesh had splat- 
tered every inch of floor and ceiling. 

And still Captain Stewart's blood-lust 
was not sated. Howes and Smith were 
still alive. That omission must be re- 
paired. Changing the axe for a harpoon, 
he repaired to that part of the deck below 
which the chief mate lay. Smith had been 
separated from the others the day before. 

During the entire massacre of his fel- 
low-sailors he had heard the screams, been 
deluged with their blood which had seeped 
through the adjoining partition. And now 
Stewart himself stood over his head, grim- 
acing through the tiny airhole. It was 
Smith's turn. 

Stewart gripped his harpoon more tight- 
ly and thrust it through the airhole at the 
helpless mate. It sliced through his ears, 
grazed his side, almost gouged out his 
right eye. But Stewart was unable to ad- 
minister a final, rending blow due to the 
narrowness of the aperture. He went for 
his axe and began enlarging the hole. 
Meanwhile Smith, with a cleverness born 
of desperation, managed to struggle over 
to the side of the hole so that he no longer 

lay directly beneath the savage harpoon 
thrusts. Instead, the weapon penetrated 
a pile of hides on which the mate had been 
lying. Mistaking these for Smith's body 
he thrust again and again until he believed 
the man was dead. He reached in, felt 
something cold and withdrew his hand, 
satisfied. He then nailed a board over 
the opening. 

All but Howes had been murdered, or 
so Stewart thought. He was unable to 
find the seaman, and too exhausted to try. 
Hunger and thirst clamored at his senses. 
He ordered the boys to bring him food 
and wine. He ordered them to bring 
them to him in the stinking cabin where 
lay strewn about the bloody remains of 
the crezv! And there he dined, calling the 
boys' attention to his steady hand. 

He boasted, "I think no more of these 
carcasses than if they were a pack of dead 

/~\NE can imagine the condition of these 
^™* wretched lads. There was no longer 
any illusions of adventure and heroism in 
their minds. They knew Stewart was a 
homicidal maniac and that they had un- 
wittingly played his game for him. Yet 
small and weak as he was, the captain 
loomed in their sight as something mon- 
strous beyond ken. They could only cow- 
er in his shadow, prepared to do what- 
ever he asked and pray that their own 
lives would be spared. 

Meanwhile a series of events were 
transpiring which, had Stewart been 
aware of them, would have sent him into 
a fresh frenzy of murder. Howes, ex- 
hausted and still bleeding, had crawled out 
of his hiding-place to find water. On the 
deck he spied Stewart's pistols and axe 
left lying about. He appropriated them, 
found the water and returned to the hogs- 
heads. At the same time Smith was work- 
ing himself free. Stewart had neglected 
to remove his knife, thinking him dead, 
and with this he pried loose the board 

History's Gallery of Monsters 


over the opening, hoisted himself out and 
joined Howe6 in the hold. 

Stewart was asleep. Following a heavy 
meal he had fallen into a deep slumber, 
surfeited as he was with blood and slaugh- 
ter. He awoke with the dawn and im- 
mediately a new suspicion seized him. 
Could he trust the boys? 

It seems he had hung his watch over 
his bunk. He had neglected to wind it 
before going to sleep, but now it was run- 
ning. To the captain's deranged brain this 
indicated that some one had crept into his 
cabin during the night. 

There was no help for it. The boys 
must be tied up. He found them in their 
cabin and announced his intentions. They 
went grey with terror. They knew what 
it meant to be Captain Stewart's prisoner. 
He swore not to harm them, but he must 
render them incapable of mutiny. They 
prayed, sobbed. They would have at- 
tacked him but he held them at bay with 
a crowbar. Slowly he reached behind him 
for a rope and beckoned to Deaves. 

"Come, you must submit." 

The terrified boy moved forward as 
though hypnotized. Once those ropes 
were around him he knew he would be 
battered to death by the crowbar. God, 
was there no escape, no mercy from this 
madman? Stewart advanced to meet him, 
arranging the rope into a noose. He was 
about to slip it over his head when a loud 
cry of greeting rooted him to the spot. 
He faltered an instant. In that instant 
the boys' lives hung in the balance. 

Then Stewart turned and dashed up on 
deck. The cry had come from another 
ship, the Mary Stubbs, bound for Belfast 
from Barbadoes. Her commander hap- 
pened to be an old friend of Stewart. He 
was Captain Callender and his voice had 
been raised in greeting. He had sighted 
the flag of the Mary Russell at half-mast, 
a sign of distress, and had hove to. 

Far from terror at the sight of Callen- 
der, Stewart cried out with vast relief, 

"For God's sake, come to my help!" 
"What's up?" 

"Mutiny! I've had to kill eight of my 
men and one has escaped." 

/^ALLENDER ordered his men to low- 
^ er a boat and he came aboard the 
Mary Russell. What Stewart showed him 
made him go sick and white with horror 
— the decks washed with blood, the stench 
of death and decay everywhere, the muti- 
lated corpses below. And yet Stewart 
convinced him that he had bravely downed 
a mutiny. He even boasted of his courage. 

The two men then went in search of 
Howes. They found him among the hogs- 
heads. Callender started back appalled 
when he saw the seaman's face. It was an 
unrecognizable mask of dried blood. 
Howes called to Smith and the chief mate 
crawled out of hiding. At sight of him 
Stewart turned pale. 

"I thought you were dead," he stam- 
mered, and added uickly, "I now believe 
you were innocent and I regret that I hurt 
you. God spared your life." 

But the next moment the spectacle of 
Howes and Smith sent him into fresh 
panic. He raved madly of mutiny until 
they were removed to the hold. 

Callender was utterly baffled. He knew 
both Howes and Stewart well. Whom 
was he to believe? He decided in favor 
of Stewart for he left him in full charge 
of his ship and headed for home with the 
brig close behind ! 

For two days the ships sailed on to- 
gether without incident. Then one morn- 
ing Callender went aboard the Mary Rus- 
sell to see how his old friend was getting 
on. Callender had loaned him two of his 
own crew and now Stewart drew him 
aside and whispered mysteriously, "Your 
men are plotting against me, too. We 
must get rid of them." 

Calender's brow creased in sudden un- 
easiness. "What are you talking about, 
man ? Why, they're my two most reliable 


Dime Mystery Magazine 

sailors. They've served me for years." 

"No, I tell you," Stewart shouted in 
panic, "they're mutineers !" 

He didn't wait for Calender's answer 
but rushed towards the rail and leaped 
into the sea. A boat was lowered and he 
was dragged from a watery grave. On 
deck he broke loose and again jumped 
overboard. They saved him and this time 
tied him up. There was no longer any 
doubt in Calender's mind. Stewart was 
a madman. 

Callender was for leaving him impri- 
soned on his own ship, but Howes and 
Smith had supped their fill of horrors. 
They would bring the brig into Cork, but 
not with a raving maniac on board. Oblig- 
ingly Callender had Stewart brought up 
from the hold preparatory to transferring 
him to his own ship. Stewart saw Howes, 
immediately ducked below, returned with 
a knife and leaped for the man's throat. 
He could not be calmed until both Howes 
and Smith were out of sight. Then, fin- 
ally, he accompanied Callender back to 
the Mary Stubbs. 

Presently the Irish coast came into 
view. As the Mary Stubbs approached 
Cork harbor Stewart spied three Irish 
sloops. He waited his opportunity — < 
humanely, Callender had not tied him up 
again — and when no one was alert sprang 
overboard and struck out for the first of 
the sloops. Mist hung over the harbor and 
he was soon lost to sight. 

They took him aboard and believed his 
story that there were pirates aboard the 
Mary Stubbs who had threatened his life. 
But soon Stewart's madness brought fur- 
ther delusions. This time the crew of the 

sloop were plotting against him. He gave 
himself up to the water once more and 
managed to reach a fishing-boat. In this 
he reached land. By this time Callender 
was ashore, too. Stewart was promptly 
clapped into iron and lodged in the coun- 
ty jail. 

The citizens of Cork crowded down to 
the waterfront to see the ill-fated Mary 
Russell with her dreadful cargo of putre- 
fying corpses, her blood-drenched decks 
and her half-maddened survivors. They 
went wild with revulsion. A cry went up 
against Stewart and among the mob were 
anguished relatives of the victims. 

They would have lynched the little cap- 
tain, but armed sheriffs kept them at bay. 
He was finally committed for trial. 3 

The outcome of that trial was a fore- 
gone conclusion. The defense pleaded 
"Not Guilty" by virtue of Stewart's pat- 
ent madness. The plea was accepted by a 
nauseated jury.* There was no alternative 
but to send the monster to an asylum for 
the criminal insane for the rest of his life. 

And it was long, that life. Stewart sur- 
vived for twenty years. He was a model 
inmate. He was at first so gentle that he 
was allowed to teach children religious 
exercises. Religion had always formed a 
deep part of his madness. But fits of in- 
sanity attacked him from time to time 
when, in his mind's eye, he reenacted his 
fearful crimes. In his lucid moments he 
was tortured with remorse. He prayed 
constantly and read his Bible. Towards 
the end of his life he said, "I cannot help 
praying for the souls of my poor men." 

But he died hard, as the bloody ghosts 
of his victims passed before his eyes. 

J It was the testimony of these three boys together with that of Howes and Smith which 
revealed the events aboard the Mary Russell. 

2 J. G. Lockhart in "Strange Adventures of the Sea" states that Stewart hailed a passing 
ship, went aboard and procured these pistols in order, as he explained to the captain, to protect 
himself against possible mutiny. 

a The trial was held at the Cork Assizes on August 11th, 1828. 

*The Trial of William Stewart for Murder on the High Seas. 

Nymph of Damnation 

Cameron sought the wom- 
an who could assuage 
his racking torment. 
Then one ni t 
alluring body 
beckoned t 
him. . . . 

B. RAIN&y 

CC ri T y HERE'S a girl downstairs who the- 
; wants to see you." Cameron's f 
■*■ wife said. "She's a strange, 
rather oriental looking girl." 

John Cameron turned from the mirror 
in front of which he had been knotting 
his tie. For one second his red, perfectly 
chiseled lips twitched, and in his dark eyes 

re was a shadow that might have been 
fear. "What does she want ? Who is 
she ?" 

"She wants to speak to you," Jane 
Cameron said. "Her name's Nicki, or 
something like that. A name I never 
heard before." 

"Tell her I'm not here," Cameron said. 


Dime Mystery Magazine 

"Tell her I'm busy and can't see her." 
His voice was brittle, his eyes black and 
hard as coal. 

Jane Cameron frowned. She was a 
pretty woman ; all of Cameron's women 
were pretty, even those that he used 
chiefly for their money. She wore an 
evening dress that clung sleekly around 
the smooth flowering of her hips. The 
throat was cut low so that the tops of 
white round breasts were visible, and the 
shadowed valley between them. She said, 
"I think you ought to see her, John. She 
seemed anxious, and she knows you are 
here. She insists on talking to you." 

Cameron crushed out his cigaret vi- 
ciously. "All right," he said. '''You stay 
here." He pulled on his coat, a tall, lean 
darkly handsome man ; a man whom wom- 
en found irresistably attractive ; a man 
without a masculine friend in the world. 

"0"E went down the stairs slowly, his 
red mouth set in a hard line. He was 
not looking forward to this interview, 
though he had experienced many of the 
same nature with other women. But this 
Nicki was like no woman he'd ever known 
before. She seemed to have no last name, 
and what nationality or race she was he 
couldn't say. There was something about 
her which rather frightened John Camer- 
on: some shadowy thing hidden behind 
her face and beyond her eyes which he 
had always felt without understanding. 
He was relievedly glad that his affair 
with her was over, though it had been 
exciting while it lasted ; almost too excit- 
ing sometimes, for the woman's gorgeous 
dark-skinned body could burn with a 
passion that was more than human. 
There were some esoteric practices of 
hers that had surprised, had frightened, 
even John Cameron. But she had fur- 
nished money when he had needed it 
desperately. He was beyond that now. 
He'd put her out and be rid of her. 
She waited in the livingroom, a tall, 

slim, dark woman. Her eyes were almond 
shaped, tilting upward at the outer ends, 
but the pupils had a way of sometimes ex- 
panding until they dominated the entire 
face. It was then that Cameron could 
feel the mystical, frightful force which 
he could not understand. She was wear- 
ing a long black cloak that covered her 
from ankles to chin, but even now he 
could feel the strange and terrible lure 
of her body. 

"So now you are married, John Cam- 
eron," she said as he entered. Her voice 
was low, yet clearly audible with a sound 
that made him think of bells deep-buried 
in darkness. 

He said, "Yes, I'm married now. You 
and I are through, and you shouldn't 
come here. I will appreciate it if you 
leave and never come back." 

"You and I are not th rough , John 
Cameron. And it may be that we shall 
never be done with one another." Her 
voice had a sort of rhythmic quality that 
angered the man. 

"We're through!" he snapped. "Now 
if you will get the hell out of here. ..." 

He stepped forward toward the door 
but the girl glided swiftly into his path. 
Her dark eyes held his. Her voice was 
fierce with passion. She said, "John, 
don't send me away. John, look!" Using 
both hands she opened the cloak wide 
to either side of her. 

Except for the cloak she was utterly 
naked. The soft light of the hallway 
glowed on her golden-colored body. It 
reflected on all the tapering curves on her 
slim legs that rose into full, firm thighs, 
on the smooth satin skin of her belly. 
Her breasts were high on her body, large 
and erect and firmly soft. Her lips were 
parted and damp and quivering. "John," 
she whispered. She took a step toward 

He felt the wild energy of her body that 
had always frightened him and the fear 
made him furiously angry. He grabbed 

Nymph of Damnation 


the cloak and jerked it around her. 
"You tramp !" he said. "Get out of here I" 

For a moment she stood rigid. Her 
hands moved to hold the cloak. Her dark 
eyes began to glow. "I shall leave, John 
Cameron, but not before I have said the 
things I came to say. You are a coward, 
John Cameron, afraid to fight your way 
against a world of men ; you have used 
women because they are easy for you. 
Every step forward you have ever made 
has been over the body and the heart 
and the soul of some woman. You have 
made love, but with your tongue only, 
for you are incapable of worshipping 
anything but yourself. You are a coward, 
John Cameron, and. ..." 

"Get out of here!" Cameron shouted. 
He stepped close to her, his face purpling 
with fury. 

"... and there must come a time 
when you pay," the girl said. "There 
must ..." 

He struck her. It knocked her against 
the wall and she stood there, swaying. 
The print of his open hand showed livid 
across her forehead, the bridge of her 
nose, and even the eyelids. 

"Now get out of here," Cameron 

The girl's eyes were very large and 
he had the weird impression that he could 
see through them as through dark glass 
to where something moved vague and in- 
distinct and horrible. Then she turned 
and was looking past him. She said, 
"Do you love this man? Are you happy 
with him?" 

Cameron swung about and saw that 
Jane was standing in the doorway. "I 
told you to wait upstairs," he snapped. 
"Now go back ..." 

"Not yet," Nicki interrupted. And 
looking at Jane she repeated, "Are you 
happy ?" 

There were many emotions in Jane 
Cameron's lovely face: she was fright- 
ened and in love with her husband and 

ashamed of his actions all at once. She 
had been married only a few days so that 
the word "happy" in connection with 
marriage still had a sexual connotation, 
and she blushed slightly at the question. 
She said huskily, "I love John very much. 
I'm happy with him." 

The dark girl said a strange thing 
then, addressing her words to Jane, al- 
though as she spoke she looked at Cam- 
eron. "I give him to you," she said — 
"for eternity. He shall never be able 
to loosen his soul from the soul he has 
in his keeping. So long as your love 
endures, so long as your happiness is 
with him, so long he shall be as other 
men. After that — he shall remember Nicki 
and the hatred she bears for him. But 
even then his only hope for relief shall 
lie in you." While she spoke the print 
of his hand was livid over her forehead 
and eyes. 

She turned, went to the door, opened 
it, and stepped out into the night. She 
went without sound, and for a long 
while John Cameron and his wife re- 
mained motionless, staring after her. 

A YEAR after he had married Jane, 
**■ Cameron was ready for his next up- 
ward step. All her money was in his 
name now. And he'd found Marian 
Reynolds, a beautiful, redhaired woman 
whose fortune would make the small one 
he had from Jane seem pitiful. Besides, 
Marian could give him the place in so- 
ciety that he wanted. He knew that he 
could win her ; already she had given 
him everything except the money and 
social position which would come with 
marriage. All that remained was to get 
a divorce. 

He located a detective agency that spe- 
cialized in such cases. Pete McCory was 
a big, square-jawed Irishman who did 
not care for man or God or the devil. 
"And sure," McCory said , "we'll get 
evidence against her and 'twil be no judge 


Dime Mystery Magazine 

living won't commend you for divorcing 

"It won't be easy/' Cameron said. 
"She's a damned plaster saint." 

"And were she the Mother Mary we 
could frame her," McCory told him. "Give 
me two weeks to learn her habits and 
its a quick divorce you'll be getting. But 
there's a price," 

"Of course," Cameron said. "I expect 
to pay." He smiled thinly, thinking that 
it was Jane's money that would buy 
her ruin. 

It was on his way home through the 
late twilight that his head began to ache, 
a dull throbbing in his forehead that 
spread down into his eyes. He stopped 
at a drugstore for aspirin, but it didn't 
help. "I feel as though I had been read- 
ing too much," he thought. But he hadn't 
been reading at all. There seemed to 
be no reason for the pain. 

And with the pain came a strange 
fierce passion. He was not usually an 
ardent man ; love making was more a 
means to wealth and position than an 
end in itself with John Cameron. But 
now he began to feel the restless urgent 
desire of a boy reaching puberty. He 
looked with furtive eyes at the women 
on the street. 

His wife was not at home when he 
arrived. The maid said she'd gone out 
early in the afternoon without leaving 
any word. Cameron shrugged. "Very 
well," he said. "I won't be home for 
dinner anyway." 

"Yes sir," the girl said. As she turned 
away he noticed the smooth flow of her 
dress over her hips and he called to her 
and stepping forward put his hand on the 
curve of her thigh. 

She was French and had been trying 
to make Cameron since she first came 
to work here. But always he had been 
very cautious. Now she made an "oohing" 
sound and turned and looked up at him 
with twinkling eyes. 

Cameron said, "You know, you are 
awfully pretty." He leaned forward as 

though he was going to kiss her. 

It was then the girl looked into his 
eyes for the first time and all at once 
her expression changed. It might have 
been terror that swept over her face. "I 
— I've got to go in the kitchen," she 
said. She turned and almost ran from 
the room. 

Cameron started after her, then remem- 
bered Marian Reynolds and decided to 
wait. He was puzzled at his own unusual 
desire. And he wondered what had caused 
the maid to change her mind so sudden- 
ly, had caused that look of terror. But 
that must have been some trick his own 
eyes were playing, he thought. He 
damned the dull ache in his head. He had 
particularly wanted to feel well tonight 
when he was seeing Marian, 

He bathed and got into his dinner 
clothes, but the pain continued. "I'll take 
some more aspirin before I leave," he 
thought. "It may help." He was stand- 
ing in front of the bathroom mirror, a 
glass and aspirin bottle in his hands, 
when he noticed his reflection. His breath 
caught high in his chest then ; his lips 
grew cold against his teeth. He leaned 
closer to the mirror. 

Across his forehead, across the bridge 
of his nose, and down across his eyelids 
there was a faint discoloration the shape 
of a human hand — such a print as might 
have been left by someone slapping 
him. . . . 

A LONG-CLOSED door opened with- 
**■ in his memory and it seemed to him 
that he was staring once more at the 
almond-eyed girl Nicki, seeing the print 
of his hand on her forehead, hearing her 
voice like a bell buried in darkness: "So 
long as your happiness is with him, so 
long shall he live as other men. After 
that — he shall remember Nicki. But even 
then his only hope for relief shall lie in 

Nymph of Damnation 


you." What strange words were these? 

A long while John Cameron looked 
into the past, seeing and hearing the 
woman he had forgotten. His body was 
rigid, and beads of sweat mushroomed 
on his forehead, but that portion covered 
by the print of a hand was dry and white. 

Finally he moved like a man breaking 
out of a trance. He staggered. His mouth 
was open and he gulped for breath. "I'm 
a damned fool," he said aloud. "I'm let- 
ting my imagination run away with me. 
I have a headache and I've been pushing 
my hand against my forehead. That's 
all." He washed his face in cold water, 
rubbing at the spot where the print 
showed. But the mark of the hand stayed ; 
the pain behind the forehead and eyelids 
did not cease. 

It was now, steeling his nerves, study- 
ing himself carefully, that he noticed his 
eyes. There was no change in them of 
which he could be certain, and yet there 
was a change. A difference in expression 
rather than in color or shape. For the 
first time he was able to see through 
his eyes into some portion of his real 
character. And what he saw was not 

The pain behind his eyes continued des- 
pite the medicine he'd taken. He won- 
dered why, feeling so depleted physically, 
he should experience such an unusual, 
almost agonizing, desire for women. He 
finished dressing and drove rapidly to 
Marian Reynold's apartment on upper 

He was panting heavily when the maid 
opened the door for him. He stepped 
just inside the room, stopped, stood there 
rigidly waiting. From the bedroom Ma- 
rian called, "Just a minute, Darling." 
The maid went out. Then Marian came 
in from the bedroom. 

If that minute had been used to put 
on clothes, she could have started with 
nothing and not have had to rush. She 
was wearing a sheer negligee through 

which the shadowed outlines of her body 
were clearly visible. The garment was 
held around her waist by a loosely tied 
belt and from there up it stood open. 
He could see the gorgeous full mounds 
of her white breasts, erect and trembling 
slightly from her breathing. Her red 
hair hung loose, thick about her face and 

For a moment they stood on opposite 
sides of the room looking at one another. 
Cameron was in the shadows near the 
door. She whispered, "John, Darling," 
and they moved swiftly together. 

He could feel all the warm quivering 
flesh of her body through the thin gown, 
could feel her breasts flatten against him. 
His mouth came down hard and fierce 
upon hers. She trembled, ground herself 
against him. "John," she whimpered. 
"John. ..." 

TTE lifted her in his arms and started 
f*""- toward the sofa And it was then 
she saw his face clearly in the light. She 
cried out and her body jerked in his 
arms. But he did not. stop. He was 
lowering her on the sofa, leaning above 

She tried to push him away. Her face 
was working with terror. "No! Don't 
John ! Not tonight." 

"Why?" he demanded. He was pant- 
ing, holding her fiercely. "Why not?" 

"I — I don't know. I — Please !" 

He fought to hold himself in check. 
He couldn't afford to anger her, not yet. 
After i he marriage, after all her wealth 
was in his name. . . . He'd kill her for 
having held him off now. But until 
then. . . . There were plenty of other 
women. . . . 

He left early. At the door he did not 
kiss her, did not even touch her hand. 
There was something wrong tonight. 
And there was the terrible pain in his 
head, the growing fear in his chest that 
he could not conquer. "I'm sick," he 


Dime Mystery Magazine 

told himself. "There's no need for me to 
keep remembering Nicki and what she 
said. That's absurd." 

His wife was not at borne when he 
got there. He looked about for the maid, 
but she wasn't there either. Well, he'd 
wait until Jane came. He undressed and 
went to bed. 

But the pain in his forehead continued 
and he didn't sleep well although, after 
awhile, he took a mild opiate. He lay 
in the dark and was afraid. He wanted 
Jane but she didn't come and he had no 
idea where she was. 

The next morning Jane was still gone. 
The maid did not answer his ring and 
he called down stairs for the Negro cook 
to bring bis breakfast. It was a half 
hour before she arrived with the tray. 

She was a fat, goodnatured Negro 
woman. "I sho am sorry you ain't 
feelin' spry dis mawnin'," she said, put- 
ting the tray on a small table and push- 
ing it toward him. "Miss Jane ain't 
here and the Lawd knows where she is. 
You gotta get up and do som'en, Mr. 

"I'll find her," Cameron said. "She'll 
be all right." Then he asked, "Where's 
the maid? Why didn't she answer my 

"She ain't here. She Ief las' night in 
a powerful hurry like she was scared 
of some'um. And she ain't come back. 
I don't—" The cook had the tray beside 
him and for the first time raised her 
eyes to his face. She stiffened and almost 
overturned the table. "Lawd! Mistur 
John, what. ..." 

Instinctively Cameron moved his hand 
to his forehead He said huskily, "I got 
hit on the forehead yesterday. Left an 
odd sort of mark, didn't it ?" 

"Hit — hit sho do look funny," the 
cook said. She kept backing toward the 
door. "I come git the dishes later." Then 
she was gone. 

Cameron got out of bed, still holding 

his hand against his forehead. The pain 
was there, dull and steady, like some- 
thing gnawing its way through his skull. 
He crossed to the bathroom and faced 
the mirror. 

He swayed and caught at the lavatory. 
Some invisible vise closed on his chest, 
crushing it. Perspiration came thick 
along his lip and under his eyes. 

The print of a hand was still clear on 
There was a darker spot between his 
eyes and when he touched it with a 
finger it hurt. "It's sore," he whispered. 
"I must have bruised myself. It's sore 
as hell." 

T^HE bruise must have affected his eyes. 
■*■ They seemed closer together than be- 
fore, so that he studied them as one rather 
than separately. There was no change 
in their color, but once more he had the 
impression of seeing through thera into his 
real character, into a place as cold and 
savage as the Eskimo hell. Except that he 
was no longer emotionally cold. Desire 
had dug hot fingers into him and tor- 
mented him constantly. He was beginning 
to understand the feeling that drives sex 
criminals insane and makes them attack 
women on the streets. 

He turned from the mirror, staggering. 
He reached the bed and lay there a long 
while thinking of N icki and the last 
words she had spoken. 

"I've got to find Jane," he said at last, 
getting to his feet. "I've got to find her!" 
He wanted her now as he never had in 
his life, physically and because of the 
curse. He could clearly remember Nicki's 
voice saying, "His only hope for relief 
shall lie in you." 

He telephoned the police, then Mc- 
Cory, the detective. "I'm not so inter- 
ested in evidence for a divorce now," he 
said. "I just want to find her. Find her 
and bring her here, quick." 

He thought the cook might be able 
to add some small clue that would help, 

Nymph of Damnation 


and he went downstairs to speak to her. 
She was not there. Pots still rested on 
the kitchen stove, and the gas was burn- 
ing. There were dishes in the sink, but 
the hook where she always placed her 
hat was vacant. The suitcase-like purse 
which she carried was gone. 

They had employed only two servants. 
Cameron was alone in the house now. 
Silence flowed in deep currents around 

TTHAT afternoon Cameron visited a doc- 
-*- tor. The man touched him, cautiously, 
with rubber gloves, prescribed, and sent 
him away. "If the pain keeps up," he 
said, "you better see another doctor. I — 
I don't think I can help you much." Cam- 
eron knew that he was afraid. 

That night he tried to pick up a woman 
on the street. She was dressed for her 
profession: a skirt that clung tight over 
her hips so that every curve came through, 
the cloth wriggling like skin as she moved ; 
a blouse open low enough to show her 
breasts and ready to be opened further. 
Her face was heavily made up, but pretty 
in a hard bold way. And she had a 
figure that offered a lot of fun. Cam- 
eron pulled his car over to the curb and 
called to her. 

She came willingly enough, hips sway- 
ing, breasts jiggling free of any restraint. 
And Cameron felt desire that was like 
fire rush through him. His hands shook. 
He could scarcely breathe. 

She said, "Hello, Baby," and leaned 
over the door of his car. Her dress 
swayed open. He gasped and reached for 
her and she giggled but made no move 
to draw away. "So you're in a hurry," 
she said. 

It was then a car turned the corner 
and its lights swept over Cameron's face. 
For one second the girl stared, wild eyed. 
And then she screamed and jumped back- 
ward. But Cameron was frantic. He 
held to her, ripped her dress, leaped out 

of the car after her. She kept screaming, 
fighting him until her clothes were torn 
from her. 

A car had stopped and persons were 
running forward. Cameron leaped back 
into his automobile. The motor was still 
running and he tore down the street. 
He was sobbing, shaking all over. 

As days passed the mark of the hand 
turned darkly purple ; the sore between 
his eyes was a hole eating into his fore- 
head, and more and more his eyes seemed 
to merge, to become a window of dark 
glass beyond which the cold and cowardly 
brutality of his soul was visible. Doctors 
looked at him and turned away, shudder- 

Within two weeks he gave up hope of 
finding Jane. She had vanished as com- 
pletely as smoke. Frantically Cameron 
turned to science for help. 

Time passed, and the man, lashed by 
terror, remembered it only in whirling, 
kaleidoscopic scenes, blurred pictures as 
from a jerky, oldfashioned cinema. There 
were doctors, dark-furnished consultation 
rooms, men in white coats with fear show- 
ing plainly in their eyes. There was the 
maddening, sickening pain under his skull, 
the pain that was driving him crazy. 
There were the white corridors of hos- 
pitals and other doctors, old bearded men 
with names that science bowed to; and 
there was the start and shock when they 
saw him, and the horror that came into 
their faces. There were white operating 
rooms, nurses white and silent as ghosts, 
the smell of anesthetics, the gleam of 
knives. And always there was the pain 
gnawing its insane way through his face. 

And always there was the insane desire 
for women. He would buy them to come 
to him, making the arangements over the 
phone, keeping in a dark room, watching 
their bodies grow white as they undressed 
before him. And then as his arms went 
around them they would see his face and 
tear free, screaming. 


Dime Mystery Magazine 

There was the vision of himself in 
mirrors, unchanged by operations, no 
scars left by the knives, but always the 
same purple print of the hand and the 
sore that was making his eyes into one. 

Doctors, a long, seemingly endless whirl 
of them. Money being paid out, always 
money. And then there were doctors no 
more. He had no faith in science now. 
There were high vaulted rooms, expensive 
dark decorations, the soft voices of the 
mediums. There was the thin, esthetic 
face of the spiritualist staring back in 
terror, the man's long hands held upright 
between them. There was the voice say- 
ing, "It is a woman. She has been close 
to you. I cannot see her now, but you 
must find her. Only she can help you." 

There was the intense darkness, the 
vague, ghostlike face that might have 
been Jane's, the voice crying, "Gone . . . 
gone * . . but only she can help." 

TIE remembered asking questions: of 
■*■■*■ spiritualists, of fakers, of police and 
dectective departments, of persons on the 
street: coming up to them while they 
started in horror, crying out, "Tell me. 
Have you seen her? My wife. I've got 
to find her! I've got to find her!" There 
were jails, steady-voiced men asking him 
questions, asylums and barred windows; 
then an open door and racing into the 
night. "Jane! Jane!! I can't stand this 
hurting any longer!" And there were 
attacks on women on the street wild, in- 
sane with desire, a sex-mad animal. 

There was hunger and long nights of 
walking, of asking passersby for money, of 
seeing them toss him a dime before they 
turned and went too swiftly away. There 
were cheap, slovenly fortune tellers. Most 
of them told him nothing. He remem- 
bered only those who repeated the phras- 
es ; a woman . . . you must find her . . . 
no one else will help. . . . 

And finally there was the old Negro 
man. Perhaps he could help to find — 

Cameron found him without knowing 
how. There was one room, unbelivably 
filthy, down an alley in a city the name 
of which he did not know. The man 
was old as time, without hair and without 
eyes, it seemed, there in the murky gloom 
where he sat among a pile of dirty quilts 
upon the floor. 

Cameron stood before him, crazy with 
the agony in his body. "Tell me," be 
begged. "Where is she? I've got to find 

There was no fear in the Negro's face. 
Perhaps it was because he was blind and 
could not see that which had frightened 
the others. He sat among his blankets, 
swaying, humming some kind of gibber- 
ish through toothless gums. "Where is 
she ?" Cameron shouted. "Tell me ! Tell 

The Negro ceased to sway; the hum- 
ming faded gently from his lips. A long 
while it was silent in the semi-dark. 
With blind eyes the old man looked past 
Cameron, past the clapboard walls of the 
hovel, past time and humanity. And 
quietly he spoke: "She is dead. She left 
your house one spring evening while you 
talked to a big blond man, a detective, 
and asked him to put her in the dozens. 
She went to the railroad depot, and she 
took a train to Birmingham. She took 
some poison out of her pocketbook and 
she drank it. Nobody knew who she was 
and they buried her in the poorground." 

Cameron did not feel the pain in his 
head then. His hands were clenched so 
that blood oozed around his nails, but he 
did not know. "She — she committed sui- 
cide?" he said at last. 

"She killed herself," the Negro said. 
"There ain't but one way you can reach 
her : you got to kill yourself. Folks who 
die by their hand don't go to heaven 
and they don't go to hell. She the only 
one who can help you, and you got to 
kill yourself to reach her." 

The sound of Cameron's breathing was 

Nymph of Damnation 


harsh against the gloom. "I'll kill my- 
self," he said. "I can't stand this pain 
any longer. I'll kill myself." 

The Negro was humming his gibberish 
and swaying when Cameron went out. 
He had forgotten the white man and his 

TT was not easy for John Cameron to 
■*- commit suicide. "I've got to," he kept 
telling himself. "I can't stand this agony 
any longer. I can't live much longer like 
this— and if I die naturally. ..." Sui- 
cide was the unforgivable sin ; those who 
took their own lives went neither to heav- 
en nor to hell. Even after death there 
would be no relief for Cameron, he be- 
lieved, unless Jane granted it. And Jane 
had killed herself because of him. Only 
through suicide could he reach her and 
get released from agony. 

But Cameron was a coward. When he 
stood face to face with death his muscles 
turned watery and he could not move. 

There was a river in this city, a great 
muddy stream, and Cameron stood upon 
the levee looking down at it. The pain 
under his skull was beyond bearing; it 
seemed to be ripping his brain into shreds. 
There in the swirling water was relief. 
"I've only to jump in," he whispered, "to 
go down. . . . It'll be easy to die." But 
his whole body trembled at the thought. 

Later he was in the small, filthy room 
where he lived. There was a piece of 
wire tied to a beam in the ceiling, and 
standing on a chair Cameron tied the 
other end of the wire around his neck. 
"I'll do it this time," he said aloud. "I'll 
step forward and kick the chair over as 
I swing. 

He had trouble twisting the wire so 
that it wouldn't come loose, because his 
fingers were stiff and wet with perspira- 
tion. They slipped and he broke his fin- 
gernails. But he did not feel the pain 
because of the terror inside his heart and 
agony in his body. Once he stopped. 

"I'll get down and rest for a moment,'* 
he said. "I've got to." 

But he forced himself to stay in the 
chair and keep working at the wire. It 
seemed to be years during which his 
fingers fumbled close to his neck. "It 
would be easy to die some other way," 
he thought. "I'll be glad if someone 
would shoot me, if an automobile hit me 
on the street." But he was certain that 
accidental death would not bring him to 
Jane. Suicide was his only way. 

At last the wire was ready. The floor 
seemed to swim in mist thousands of feet 
below him. Blood flowed into his face and 
his heart was cold. And then the door of 
the room opened and he turned and saw 
her ! 

It was Nicki. Her dark hair was thick 
about her face. Her lips were parted and 
damp and amorous. She whispered, "John, 

She was beautiful as no human being 
should be beautiful. Her body seemed to 
glow like lighted amber. Her breasts 
stood out from her body, superbly shaped 
and firm, quivering now as though the 
hand of desire had stirred them. "John," 
she whispered, "come to me." 

He cried out hoarsely and stepped for- 
ward. He had forgotten that he stood 
upon the chair. He plunged downward. A 
scream started in his throat and then he 
reached the end of the wire and the scream 
cut short. 

He clutched at the wire over his head, 
trying to pull himself up. He tried to rip 
at the twisted end of the loop. His body 
writhed snakelike, jerking, twisting, con- 
vulsing. His bulging eyes saw the dosed 
door. There was no one in front of it 
now, perhaps there had never been any- 
thing but a vision. 

An accidental death wouldn't. . . . 

His movements grew more gentle. A 
shudder ran through him. 

After that he hung motionless except 
for a slight swaying to and fro. 

Monster of His /Vlak 



With his own hands Dr. Kelland 
had created this monster of sad- 
ism, and now he was paying 
for it . . . paying with the 
life's blood of his only 

held his arms stiffly in front of 
him, his hands still dripping with 
carbolic solution while Ronald Eccles, his 
young assistant, helped him into his oper- 
ating smock. 

"Read me the card on this next case, 
Ronald," he said as the interne tied the 
cord about his waist. "It's a cardiac some- 
thing-or-other, isn't it ?" 

"Yes." Eccles crossed to a small wood- 

en file resting on a tile-topped table in the 
corner, while his senior wearily tried to 
push back a stray lock of grey hair from 
his forehead with his upper arm, care- 
fully avoiding touching it with his band. 
Eccles thumbed through the file for a 
moment and extracted a pink card and 
read, " 'Carlos Cafarelli, aged nine. Clinic 
patient for the past six months. Primary 
diagnosis, aneurism. Doctors McFee and 
Haggard saw the patient on the next visit 

Monster of His Making 


and postulated an auricular leak from a 
feeble diastolic murmur.' They note : 'Not 
precisely characteristic, and all other ele- 
ments of the syndrome are lacking. Sug- 
gest that Dr. Kelland' . . ." 

"Yes, yes," murmured the surgeon, a 
bit of the weariness leaving his face, "I 
remember, now, Ronald.. A puzzling and 
interesting case. Do you know, I still 
haven't the faintest idea of what's wrong 
with the boy. He's an orphan — was sent 
here because he had been complaining of 
slight pains in his chest. Perhaps I am 
opening myself to censure for this, but I 
must have a look into that lad's midriff. 
Something decidedly wrong — something 
very strange. If I told you what I sus- 
pect, you'd think me mad." 

The older man suddenly halted as he 
noticed that his assistant was looking at 
him strangely. "Never mind," he mur- 
mured. "See if the anesthetist is ready." 

Five minutes later the surgeon stood 
above a small, sheet-covered body on a 
long operating table. In the glare of the 
powerful lamps his face was tightly 
drawn, hawklike, as he gazed down at the 
pale, brown countenance of his small 
patient. At a barely perceptible sign, a 
nurse on either side of the table pulled the 
sheet down, baring the boy's body to the 
hips, then one of them quickly swabbed it 
with antiseptic from throat to navel. The 
surgeon held out a rubber-gloved right 
hand, and instantly a gleaming scalpel was 
thrust into it by the nurse standing on 
his right. Dr. Kelland bent above the 
body and the knife moved swiftly, was 
instantly tossed into a shallow tray con- 
taining a colorless liquid which stood on 
a stand at his left. The surgeon stepped 
back. A long red line had appeared on 
the boy's bare, brown body, extending 
from a little to the left of his breastbone 
straight down the longitudinal plane for 
a distance of eight inches. 

Instantly EceJes, the interne, and a 
nurse bent over the body, closing the 

bleeding points with clamps, swabbing 
away the blood, leaving a gaping opening 
in the small torso. They moved like sol- 
diers at drill, every movement precise, 

The nurse on the doctor's right had 
the next scalpel ready. It was time for 
the transverse section. She wondered why 
the doctor hesitated, why he didn't thrust 
out his hand to receive the instrument. 
She was never to know. She looked at 
the surgeon's face, still bent over the small 
body, and came perilously near screaming. 
She had never seen such an expression on 
a human face before. It was as if the doc- 
tor was looking, not at the body of a child, 
but at a demon from hell ! 

Suddenly the surgeon gave a choked 
gasp. He looked up, glaring about at his 
assistants with a white, drawn face and 
staring eyes, as though he had never seen 
them before. "Get out!" he whispered 
hoarsely, at last. "Get out — all of you!" 

The interne gave voice to a half-formed 
exclamation of surprise and protest, but 
another look at the surgeon's face stopped 
him. Abruptly he turned on his heel and 
walked out of the room, followed by the 
fluttering startled nurses. 

ITOR perhaps a quarter of a minute after 
the door had closed behind them, 
Doctor Kelland stood with his eyes fixed 
on space. It was as though he were pre- 
paring himself to look again into the small 
fleshy pit which lay open before him, and 
at last the color came back a little to his 
parchment cheeks, his breathing became 
normal. He bent again above the boy's 

But this time there was no hesitation 
or evidence of emotion about his conduct. 
He was once more the nerveless, precise 
surgeon, save that as he worked, en- 
larging the wound with section after sec- 
tion, he murmured half-audibly to him- 

"It's impossible, against nature. But it's 


Dime Mystery Magazine 

true. This vena cava shows considerable 
swelling here. That would correspond to 
the right auricle. That's its function — it 
must be. . . . Then the coronary artery, 
here, takes the place of the ventricles. 
And the vagus nerve is shrivelled to 
nothing — yet it functions — it must. . . ." 
His all but inaudible murmurings 
ceased, and for fully fifteen more minutes 
he worked, feverishly. Then he suddenly 
dropped the last scalpel in the pan of anti- 
septic, which by now had taken on a pink 
tinge. He washed the wound, dressed it 
and applied bandages, passing them round 
and round the patient's tiny form. At last 
he finished and straightened up, looking 
down at the child on the operating table 
with a strange look of awe on his hawk- 
like features. 

"It's incredible — unheard of!" he mur- 
mured. "What sort of creature are you, 
my lad? What manner of being will you 
become when you grow into manhood — 
you who have no heart V* 

But if the good surgeon could have had 
his question answered at that moment, the 
scalpel in his hand would have plunged 
downward — to bury itself in the small 
chest that was without a heart. 

Twenty-five Years Later 

fPHE offices of Dr. Carl Cardell were as 
softly lighted, somberly gleaming, and 
altogether colorfully impressive as mod- 
ern decorators, muralists and surgical 
supply houses could make them. In the 
anteroom, where many an important per- 
sonage had cooled his heels awaiting Dr. 
Carddl's convenience, were a number of 
luxuriously overstuffed divans and chairs 
lined against the walls. In one of the 
smaller chairs sat a man whose aged face 
showed the signs of all but unbearable 
grief and anxiety. His haunted eyes roved 
about the room, lighting with fierce hope 
whenever the immaculately pretty nurse 

at the reception desk lifted her inter-office 
phone, and dulling miserably whenever 
she nodded to someone else. 

But at last the old man's turn came, 
and he almost sprang to the door into the 
private office in response to the nurse's 
signal. He passed through it quickly, and 
it swung noiselessly shut behind him as 
he stood just inside the entrance, his faded 
old eyes fixed on the darkly handsome 
young man who sat behind the great wal- 
nut desk. 

"So," said the young man with no sign 
of emotion in his voice, "we meet again, 
Doctor Kelland." 

The old man did not reply for several 
moments. He stood there, his white, bony 
hands hanging lankly at his sides, their 
fingers trembling slightly in response to 
the storm of emotions which was racking 
his old body. 

"Yes, Carlos," he said at last m a low, 
quavering voice. 

The young man's face darkened. "My 
legal name is Carl Cardell, Doctor Kel- 
land," he snapped. "The change, as you 
know, has been registered in Washington. 
But perhaps you have decided to capital- 
ize on your knowledge of my past. May- 
be you have thought of a way to fill the 
purse which your incompetence as a sur- 
geon has emptied. . . ." 

A wry smile twisted the old man's thin 
lips. "That's like you," he said. "You 
would think that." 

The young man's shoulders moved im- 
patiently. "What do you want?" he said 
harshly. "I'm busy, Kelland." 

Unbidden the old sturgeon sank into a 
chair and sighed as he passed a shaking 
hand over his forehead. "It's about Helen, 
Carlos. You read about her accident?" 

Cardell's eyes suddenly quickened with 
interest. He leaned forward. "Helen? 
What accident?" 

"About a month ago — while she was 
driving down from Greenwich. There had 
been a sleet storm. She went off the road 

Monster of His Making 


just below Peekskill. She got a few 
bruises and a bad shaking up, but noth- 
ing serious — we thought. Then ten days 
ago she began limping. The X-rays show 
a fractured patella. , . /' 

The old man's eyes raised appealingly 
to the young surgeon's. "We've had our 
differences, Carlos. But surely you're fair 
enough to admit that I had great provoca- 
tion for whatever I did to you. . . ." 

Suddenly Kelland shuddered and broke 
off. God ! This was worse than he had 
dreamed it would be. He was talking to 
this man in the terms a father might use 
to cajole an erring son. Erring ! Murder 
— sadism. . . . 

His sick mind whirled back through 
the years, back to the day when he, the 
then famous surgeon, Doctor James Kel- 
land, had lifted the small, brown, weirdly 
functioning body of Carlos Cafarelli from 
the operating table, carried it into a pri- 
vate room and placed it on a cot. He had 
stood there for a long time gazing down 
at the boy. 

A human being without a heart! Not 
really, of course — but with an attenuated, 
almost vestigial heart, like a fish or a 
snake. And that shrivelled vagus nerve. 
Obviously it performed its pneumogastric 
functions efficiently enough — but could it 
be that its attenuated condition was trace- 
able to a neurotic disfunction? We say 
that the heart is the seat of the emotions 
simply because the rhythm of the heart is 
affected by the emotions of the brain, via 
the vagus nerve. And through the heart, 
the whole body is affected by every emo- 
tion we experience. 

Would this child prove immune to the 
physiological reaction of emotion ? And if 
he should — what a surgeon he would 
make ! His would be a steadier hand than 
ever a human being possessed before. 
His would be an intellect clear and cold, 
aloof from the emotions which make cow- 
ards and bunglers of us all. His would be 
the icy fearlessness which penetrates fron- 

tiers with as much assurance as though 
they were long-familiar territory. . . . 

Again the old surgeon's gaunt body 
twitched with a spasm of revulsion. But 
he mustn't let the man before him sus- 
pect what was going on in his brain, if 
he could help it. Helen's life would be 
ruined if Cardell refused to take her case. 
Only Cardell could give her back the use 
of her right leg — save her from the life- 
long tragedy of being a cripple. . . . 

There was a faint smile on Cardell's 
chiseled Hps ; his eyes, as always, were 
utterly devoid of expression. 

"Save your breath, Kelland," he said 
tonelessly. "I wouldn't lift a hand to save 
her if she were dying." 

CLOWLY the b]ood drained f rom the 
^ old surgeon's face, his hands clenching 
the arms of his chair until they were 
waxy white. But he had expected this. 
Why should he feel this ghastly, over- 
whelming rage against the man before 
him ? He was not a man, really, he was 
an intelligent beast, nothing more. 

It was no use. The heartless, cruel 
words aroused in the old surgeon's breast 
the wild desire to kill, to rid the earth 
of the soulless monster before him. . . . 
And yet, it was a monster which was 
partially of his own creation ! 

It took Doctor Kelland several mo- 
ments to gain mastery over his emotions, 
but at last he was able to command a 
tone which was a pitiable mimicry of Car- 
dell's icy aloofness. 

"Of course, I expected this sort of a 
response from you, Carlos," he said. "You 
can never forget that Helen always hated 
you, repulsed all your advances as she 
would those of an ape — thank God. But 
naturally I didn't come to you without 
weapons. You asked awhile ago if I had 
come to capitalize on my knowledge of 
your past. I have decided to, Carlos, but 
I do not ask for money — I ask for my 
daughter's happiness. That is the price of 


Dime Mystery Magazine 

my continued silence. Years ago I would 
have denounced you, had I not been ob- 
sessed with my ambition to make you the 
greatest surgeon of history. I have con- 
doned murder, Carlos, in the name of that 
ambition, and now it is time for you to 
repay me." 

A silence fell after Doctor Kelland's 
last words, and for many long moments 
the men stared at each other. Cardell's 
face, as always, was completely devoid of 
emotion, but in the depths of his dark 
eyes something that had been slumbering 
was quickening to life. 

"A cracked patella," he said at last, "is 
hardly beyond the skill of the average 

The old practitioner ignored the heavy 
irony of the young man's tone. "It is a 
bad fracture," he said, shaking his grey 
head wearily. "You know as well as I 
that it is one spot where the slightest 
error results in permaanent stiffening of 
the joint." Suddenly his lean hands 
knotted into fists, came down with pas- 
sionate vehemence on the arms of the 
chair. "By God, Cafarelli," he cried, "you 
are going to do this thing — or you are 
going to the electric chair. The mangled 
bodies of two girls, now buried in Pot- 
ter's Field, will rise up at my bidding and 
blast you to hell. Don't forget that ! I'm 
not asking you to save Helen from being 
a cripple. . . . I'm commanding you to 
do it. And God help you if you aren't 
successful !" 

The old man had risen to his feet, and 
stood there shaking like a wind-blown 
reed. The young man continued to look 
at him calmly, but the thing which lay 
at the back of his eyes was fully alive, 
now, a crawling worm of light which two 
young women had watched with depth- 
less horror as their pain-blasted bodies 
had slowly sunk into the release of death, 

"Very well, Doctor," he said quietly. 
"It is imperative that I be at my lodge in 
the Poconos early tomorrow morning. I 

am trying out some new elaborations of 
Dr. W. S. Baer's method of treating mar- 
row infections in my laboratory up there. 
If you don't object to driving Helen up, 
some time in the early afternoon." 

His tone was precisely the same as he 
would have used to an old and valued 
client. Old Doctor Kelland shivered invol- 
untarily. Then, wordlessly, he nodded, 
turned and went out the door. 

As it closed softly behind him the 
strange eyes of Doctor Carl Cardell re- 
mained fixed on space, and the smile 
which slightly curved his handsome 
mouth portrayed the sort of delight that 
is known to the fiends of the deepest pit 
in Hell 

T^HE laboratory and operating room 
A which had been constructed in the 
rear of Doctor Cardell's mountain home 
lacked nothing which might be found in 
the most elaborately equipped modern 
hospital, save the more ponderous appa- 
ratus. Doctor Kelland glanced about in 
grim approval, as with the aid of Cardell, 
he carried his daughter to the operating 

Helen Kelland's pretty face showed 
nothing of the pain which this journey 
was costing her. She had consented to 
this operation only after her father had 
argued with her for hours, for although 
she had heard of none of the monstrous 
acts of sadism which had punctuated the 
young surgeon's career, she instinctively 
sensed something in his nature that was 
vile and unnatural. 

She sighed in relief and closed her eyes 
as the two men lowered her young, softly 
rounded figure to the operating table. 

Her father immediately started to cut 
off the plaster cast which encased his 
daughter's leg. Before he had finished, 
Cardell rolled a tank of ether into place 
at the head of the table, and fitted a piece 
ef sterile gauze into the anesthetic mask 
which was connected to the tank by a 

Monster of His Making 


length of thick hose. The stage was set. 

Doctor KeJland moved to the head of 
the table and took tip the mask. "Are you 
ready?" he asked in a strained voice. 

Cardell, his sensitive fingers gently 
probing the flesh of Helen's knee, nodded 
absently, and the old surgeon lowered the 
mask to his daughter's face. He reached 
behind him with the other hand and 
turned a petcock on the tank. A soft, hiss- 
ing sound filled the room. 

Helen Kelland's firm young breasts 
rose and fell under the sheer covering of 
her light summer dress as she inhaled 
deeply of the soporific gas, and at last, as 
his long-practiced old eyes detected the 
symptoms of complete anesthesia, Doctor 
Kelland turned off the petcock and re- 
moved the mask. 

"We're ready, Carlos," he said. 

Cardell straightened, turned and walked 
casually toward the older man. Kelland 
watched his approach with mild wonder, 
but he had no warning of what was to 
come imtil Cardell, reaching him, sudden- 
ly threw himself upon the old surgeon, 
pinning his feeble arms to his sides with 
one encircling arm, as with his free hand 
he turned the petcock on the tank of 
ether and snatched up the mask. 

Doctor Kelland had time for one star- 
tled cry, and then his voice was muffled 
by the anesthetic mask as Cardell clapped 
it over his mouth and nostrils, holding it 
firmly in place. Within the space of a few 
seconds the victim's body lost its tension 
and relaxed. Supporting it with one arm, 
Cardell at length turned off the petcock 
and carried the lax body to the west wall 
of the room. . . . 

When Doctor Kelland regained con- 
sciousness he did not realize, for the first 
few seconds, that he was in the same 
room. Brightly illuminated before, it was 
now in a darkness which was relieved 
only by a red-rayed lamp which gave a 
spot light from the ceiling. The blinds 
had been drawn, closing out all but a few 

stray beams of daylight, and as the old 
surgeon's eyes focused on what lay be- 
neath the red-rayed lamp his aching mus- 
cles suddenly hardened with the trans- 
fixion of horror. 

Helen was still on the operating table, 
but she was stark nude, now, and her 
arms and legs had been securely bound to 
the table with stout straps. The ruddy 
light bathed her slender body with a crim- 
son effulgence which emphasized rather 
than obscured the satin texture of her 
flawless skin. 

Kelland gasped and cried out in in- 
credulous horror, attempting to lurch to 
his feet. Only then did he discover that 
he had been lashed securely to a chair 
against the west wall of the room, and was 
powerless to move an inch. 

At his cry a weirdly incongruous figure 
stepped out of the gloom and into the 
ruby nimbus of the lamp. The figure was 
clothed in the black tights and jerkin of 
a long dead century, and only after it 
spoke was Doctor Kelland able to recog- 
nize Carl Cardell. 

"Ah — I'm glad to see you're back with 
us, Doctor," said Cardell, and Kelland 
was conscious of a vibrancy in his voice 
that he had never heard before. "Now, 
as soon as your attractive daughter has 
recovered, we can proceed." 

Something which he did not yet under- 
stand made the blood run cold in the old 
surgeon's body. " 'Proceed — ?' " he 
quavered. "What do you mean?" 

"I refer to the operation, of course," 
said the young man. "Isn't that what 
we're here for ?" 

"Yes — yes ... of course. But — ?" 

Then the blasting knowledge of what 
portended almost shocked the old man 
back into senselessness. His widening 
eyes fastened on his daughter's bare right 
knee, noted sickly that nothing had been 
done to it. 

"Good God !" he whispered. "You 
wouldn't do that, Carlos. Even a sadist 
(Continued on page 105) 



Putrescent masses of decayed flesh, they walked the streets of New 
York — the victims of the Rotting Death. Was Bonny, my beloved, 
destined to be of their number? Could I, alone, outwit the monsters 
that had terrorized the world's largest city? I would die trying. . . . 



Dues Payable To Death 

THEY buried Andy Carter on one 
of those bleak February mornings 
when the sun forgets to shine. He 
had a big turn-out; and I wasn't sur- 
prised to see every society editor in town 
at St, Anne's, dressed in mourning, with 
note-books and pencils constantly in hand, 
jotting down the notables present. 

I guessed at the paragraph they'd give 
me : "Barry Amsterdam, New York's 
play-boy and thrill-seeker Number One, 
was grieving at the loss of his erstwhile 
playmate, the fabulously wealthy heir to 
the Carter utility millions, whose untimely 
death — " and so forth. 



Menace stalks througn the 

pages of this Pulse-Spceding 


I only hoped they'd leave it at that. Be- 
cause I knew, and so dM others, that Andy 
Carter hadn't died of pneumonia. He had 
died of whatever it was that had made him 
a ghost-faced stranger the last time I'd 
seen him alive. 

Or could you call that — life? That 
cringing shadow of a man who'd whimper 
as he pulled his hand from my clasp, re- 
fused to answer the natural questions a 
best friend would ask? 

We didn't speak of it to each other, 
we who were the monied fraction of New 
York, but it was there, behind every bland 
mask of a face at the fashionable funeral. 
Andy Carter had died of stark, grisly 
terror 1 



Dime Mystery Magazine 

WV7"OU look like the prelude to several 
"T long drinks Barry, my boy," said 
a slow voice at my elbow. It was Duke 
Livingstone, city editor of the Chronicle, 
and in times past, friend enough to squash 
some of my snappier high-jinks before 
they reached the headlines. Tall and bald- 
ish, with eyes like an owl's, and a mouth 
that was sometimes like a kid's and some- 
times like a professor's. He was humor- 
ous ; he had to be. A grimmer man might 
have gone crazy, knowing the things he 
knew about people and their shortcomings. 

"I feel like the tail end of a bad life," 
I told him. "And what brings you here? 
Poor old Andy wasn't that important." 

Duke put a long finger against his thin 
nose and wagged it. "Poor old Andy," 
he said, "died without explaining a few 
things that might be interesting to the 
press. For instance, what happened to the 
Carter money? Andy didn't live long 
enough to spend four million — " 

"Duke, skip it," I urged. "Skip it as 
an editor, anyway. Don't hurt the Car- 
ters any more than you can help it." 

Duke's owlish eyes followed my gaze to 
a brave erect little figure, black-veiled, at 
the front of St. Anne's. "And that's an- 
other thing," he drawled. "I have a hunch 
Bonny Carter knows more about her 
brother's death than any of us. Don't 
worry. I won't interrupt her grief — yet. 
You're a little sunk on her, aren't you ?" 

Sure. I was sunk on her. Until Andy's 
— well, we called it illness — we'd been 
talking Armonk every night of the week. 
Duke knew it, so I didn't bother telling 
him. And I guess he knew I didn't want 
him around, just then, because he van- 
ished, like the good fellow he was. 

There was something about Bonny Car- 
ter, even in the stark shock of sudden loss, 
that made a man think of the way spring 
felt when he was a kid. She was — well, 
perfect. Violet eyes, tawny hair, flawless 
skin ; that was only a part of it. You could 

feel something underneath that, a kind of 
beautiful purity that made you want to 
help her and protect her. 

I don't know what she saw in me. ex- 
cept that I loved her ; but I knew, from 
the way she reached out her hands to me 
the minute she saw me, that if anyone 
could comfort her in this tragedy, it was 
I. I swore silently to myself that I'd live 
up to her trust in me. God, how little 
we know our own follies! In spite of 
myself, through my very efforts to save 
her, I was to add to her sorrows ! 

"Barry," she whispered, "has he gone? 
That newspaper man, I mean?" 

I held her fingertips, reverently. "Yes, 
he's gone," I said. "I asked him to. Duke's 
not a bad sort." 

"No, he isn't. But I'm wary of re- 
porters." She was a little breathless, and it 
was not the breathlessness that comes 
from tears. Her glance darted about un- 
happily, and then she beckoned me into a 
side aisle. 

"I have to talk to you before we go 
to the cemetery," she said. "Barry, I don't 
know what I'll be like afterward. I've 
been so worried! We don't have a cent, 
Mother and I, and we don't know what's 
happened to it. Andy's club was awfully 
decent about paying for the funeral. But 
the living should pay for their own dead." 

I tried to tell her that it would be all 
right, that the sweetest thing she could 
do for me would be to let me take care of 
her and her mother forever. But she re- 
treated from me in a kind of appalled daze 
— and then I saw a look in those violet 
eyes that made me wish I'd died before 
I saw it. 

It was the same look that had been on 
Andy's face the last time I saw him alive 

a look that made you think terror, 

like a huge cancer, was amok in a living 
being, feeding on it and slowly causing its 

She wasn't looking at me. She was 
looking at the pall-bearers, six black fig- 

Corpses on Parade 


ures, moving with Andy's coffin down the 
aisle. Was it the candle-light, or the 

tragic occasion that made them seem what 
they were, that sad sextet ? Or was it — 
my mind recoiled toward sanity from the 
thought — that same expression of panic 
gone hopeless that turned those faces, so 
familiar to cameramen around the town's 
hot-spots, into death's-heads of despair? 

T DIDN'T see Bonny at the cemetery, 
*• nor after the burial, for the very good 
reason that the burial ended in a near-riot. 
I remembering thinking, then, that life 
had turned into a crazy caricature of 
death. I didn't know, you see, that I was 
as yet only in the hinterland of a horror 
that would blacken my world, later . . . 

It was just after the first spadeful had 
been flung against the coffin. Grant An- 
ders, the leading pall-bearer, stood very 
straight and gaunt at the edge of the 
grave, his loose black coat flapping in the 
February wind like the wing-humming of 
the Grim Reaper. Grant's family had 
come over on the Mayflower; he was an 
old classmate of mine. I thought that he 
was not looking too well. 

Suddenly high, mirthless laughter 
pierced the reverent silence. It was 
Grant's voice. There was a sharp crack- 
ing sound. Grant faltered, and then 
plunged into the open grave, his dead 
fingers still linked around a smoking re- 

I suppose I must have taken charge in 
the panic that followed, because when 
Sergeant Connor put a heavy hand on my 
shoulder, it seemed I had pushed eight 
men away from the body, and was en- 
gaged in slapping a middle-aged matron 
out of hysteria. 

"I'm a friend of the Carters," I ex- 
plained. "I know all these people. I tried 
to keep them from running wild." 

"Ye've been doin' a bit of runnin' wild 
yerself, m'boy," said the sergeant, not 
unsympathetically. "However, I'm glad ye 

let no one touch the body." He beckoned 
to a comrade in brass-and-blue, and they 
hoisted poor Grant out of the pit. "Sui- 
cide," they observed pithily. 

Grant had been a great one for thrills 
when I knew him, and he was willing to 
pay for them whenever they offered. Con- 
sequently, he'd usually carried at least a 
century on him, generally more. 

Yet, when we examined his pockets in 
that vain half-blind search for motive that 
follows every tremendously wrong human 
act, we found — a nickel, two pennies, a 
clean handkerchief, and one slip of paper 
in the otherwise empty wallet. It was a 
notice, from the Quadrangle Club that 
dues, amounting to ninety dollars quarter- 
ly, were payable on the first of February. 

I thought dully, and it was a thought 
that clicked on an empty cartridge, that 
members of the Quadrangle Club seemed 
to be showing a singular mortality. First 
Andy — now Grant Anders. I was oc- 
cupied with a resentment against Kitty 
Anders. Grant had married her on a dare, 
and it worked out as such marriages 
usually do. Grant had been good sport 
enough to stick it, but I was sure Kitty, 
with her erratic expensive tastes, had 
brought my former classmate to this piti- 
able end. 

What a difference there is in women! 
I thanked God for the sweet sanity of my 
Bonny — little realizing that when I saw 
her next, she would seem far from sane. 

I gave the sergeant my name, address 
and twenty dollars for being helpful. The 
funeral guests were gone ; and what was 
left of Andy and Grant was in hands fit 
to deal with remains. Suddenly, after all 
the excitement, I began to feel a little 
sick — and more than anything in the 
world, I wanted to see Bonny. 

TVTEITHER she nor her mother were at 
■** the town apartment when I got back 
to Manhattan. I floundered into an easy 
chair, and gritted my teeth over a Scotch 


Dime Mystery Magazine 

and soda. At ten-minute intervals, I 
phoned the Carters. By five in the after- 
noon, they were still out. I had just about 
decided to go over there and wait for 
them, when Suki, my man-servant, an- 
nounced a visitor. 

It was the city editor of the Chronicle. 
He helped himself to a Corona, and asked 
for a drink, and then his mouth that was 
humorous as a kid's came out with a 

He said, "Kitty Anders has just 
jumped out of the window." And then he 
sighed, and blew the kind of contented 
smoke rings you see in bedroom slipper 

When it penetrated, I shouted, "You're 
crazy! Or eJse everyone else is!" 

"I always knew about everyone else," 
Duke answered. "You learn about them in 
my racket. Now, lad, I've done you a 
turn or two in our time. You knew the 
Anders better than I did. Would you 
say Kitty was the sort of woman who'd 
kill herself out of grief at the loss of a 
husband ?" 

I laughed, not happily. "Hardly. She's 
dead then?" 

Duke nodded. "Most messily dead. It's 
a shame. She was a pretty woman. Say, 
didn't I tell you earlier you needed a 
drink? Keeps a man's stomach down. 
Swallow one, and I'll take you over for a 
look at the corpse. There's some kind of 
cop who says you know the answer." 

I damned Sergeant Connor in my pri- 
vate thoughts, and went to the Anders' 
apartment on East Seventy-third in a 
press car. I'd avoided that apartment 
since Grant's marriage — it was gaudy, and 
there seemed to be a price tag on every- 
thing, screaming expense. I dreaded, too, 
the habitual reek of over-applied Oriental 
perfumes that had been a perfect expres- 
sion of Kitty. 

I needn't have. No hint of bottled 
flowers was in that air. Instead, a sultry 
foulness, faint but undeniable, hit us the 

moment we entered. Duke's long nose 
wrinkled in distaste. I wasn't imagining 

In the bedroom, surrounded by gew- 
gaws she would never enjoy again, lay 
Kitty Anders, and for salon she had the 
coroner, the press and the law. And now 
I placed that odor of corruption ; it pro- 
ceeded from the dead woman's decently 
shrouded body. 

I said, "She's been dead for days !" and 
the coroner looked at me curiously and 
shook his head. . . . 

"Take yerself a look," said Sergeant 
Connor, pulling the sheet from Kitty's 
face. I looked — and something in me 
froze. I'm not a coward; I've been in 
some tough spots in my time and laughed 
afterward, but this was different. In the 
first place, with the removal of the sheet, 
the stench became almost overpowering — 
as though Kitty had been pregnant with 
death before she died ! 

And on the dead face was that unname- 
able expression of hopeless despair that I 
had seen on too many faces that day. That 
was it — she had carried death within her 
like an unborn evil — I turned away, half- 
sick with a fear I dared not name to my- 

"Ye wouldn't know what makes the 
poor girl smell so horrible, would ye?" 
asked the sergeant. 

I said, "The living don't smell like that, 
nor fresh corpses. . . ." 

The coroner straightened, and looked at 
me. He was haggard and perplexed "Of 
course not. But we have sworn testimony 
that Mrs. Anders was alive this morning, 
that she shouted a warning to passers-by 
before she jumped . . ." he shrugged, atid 
went into the next room. Duke followed 
him, hoping, I suppose, to get a more com- 
plete report. The sergeant was busy with 
Kitty's effects. 

I don't know what kept me in that 
tftmb-smelling room, unless it were fear of 
the hauntmg uncertainty of the thing. 

Corpses on Parade 


Some malign fate seemed amok among my 
friends ; tomorrow, unless I learned its 
source of power, it might strike nearer 
home. . . . 

No one else had seen the small white 
thing clutched by those stiff white fin- 
gers. No one saw me as I stooped to 
wrest the thing from their clasp. 

The fingers were soft to the bone, pulpy 
as though maggot-ridden. I forced my- 
self to delve there. . . . and the woman's 
hand turned to putty in mine, like a 
squashed putrescent fruit ! I was a man ; 
I didn't get sick on the spot. That would 
come later. 

In her hand had been a membership 
card to the Quadrangle Club. 

One Ticket To Hell 

66ONAP out of it," Duke kept telling 
^ me, on the way back. "You're white, 
Barry. Well, do you know any more than 
I do ? The sarge seemed to think you 
might. I'd like to get it into a six o'clock 

I didn't answer, because I was swallow- 
ing to keep my stomach where it belonged. 
Besides, what was there to say? Duke 
had a nose ; he knew as much as I did. 

Was it true, or was my imagination 
playing tricks on my memory? That last 
time Andy had retreated from me, at the 
Antler Bar, hadn't I thought, "What 
ghastly shaving lotion the lad uses !" For 
there had been a super-abundance of scent 
about him, a scent with sickly-rancid un- 
dertones. . . . God, it was true ! What- 
ever they died of, these ill-fated things, 
they'd been dying of it for a long time be- 
fore ! Some loathsome disease, that rotted 
all of them, heart and brain last. ... I 
swallowed, harder than ever, and managed 
to talk. "Looks like the dissolution of the 
upper classes. The snootiest club in town 
is really getting something to turn its 
nose." And I showed him the rumpled 

card I'd torn from those rotted fingers. 

"Shut up," Duke said sharply. "You're 
letting it get you. Come back with me 
while I put the Chronicle to bed. She'll 
run an article on the Quadrangle Club 
that ought to stop the slaughter. You 
might have two cents to put in." 

I said, "No," because I remembered, 
with tightening heart muscles, that I 
hadn't located Bonny all day. And she had 
told me that morning that she owed the 
cost of Andy's funeral to — the Quadrangle 
Club ! No wonder she had looked as 
though doom were a little way off, watch- 
ing her helpless struggle with malevolent 
and unfathomable eyes ! It was enough to 
drive a man mad, that sinister shadow 
whose substance I could not perceive ! 

There was no need to phone. I knew, 
when I saw the mink coat and black hat 
on a coueh in the foyer, that I had a 
most welcome guest. I heard the auto- 
matic playing the Pathetique symphony. 

Bonny crouched, head buried in her 
elbows, in a big chair. Her small, black- 
robed body swayed mournfully to the 
' third movement. God, I was glad to see 
her — and not to — to smell her ! 

She was pure, thank God, and untaint- 
ed. Still had the same faint toilet water 
scent about her, woodsy with lavendar 
. . . she winced when I put my hands on 
her shoulders. 

"Bonny, where have you been all day?" 
I asked anxiously. 

She turned to me a white face in which 
the violet eyes looked like great bruises. 
"Dodging reporters," she answered. 
"Barry, I have to stay here tonight." 

"You can't," I answered, with a sharp- 
ness that was as much reproof to myself 
as to her. "There aren't enough rooms. 
And — " I added, laughing feebly — "no 

"Chaperone!" She laughed with me, 
but it was a high, uncomfortable laugh 
that made my flesh creep. "Bitter music," 
she commented, and then: "What do I 


Dime Mystery Magazine 

need with a chaperone? I want protec- 
tion, just for tonight." 

I shook her, for she was still laughing 
in that bitter, almost hysterical way, but 
it had no effect. "Bonny, you've got to 
tell me! What are you afraid of?" 

She shuddered. "Everything — even 
you. You've been wicked in your time, 
haven't you, Barry? Awfully wicked . . . 
but I love you." 

That wasn't like Bonny. I'd told her 
all about myself, and the low-lights of 
my past, and she'd been pretty magnan- 
imous about it. She wasn't one to rake 
up old ashes. Suddenly I hated that 
poignant music ; like a crossed child, I 
snatched the record. I heard the needle 
whine once, and then the third movement 
of the symphony was in a hundred frag- 
ments on the floor. 

"I felt that way — once," Bonny told 
me. She had stopped laughing. Her 
voice was flat, hopeless. "Now it doesn't 
matter. Can I stay tonight, Barry? It 
may be the last time I'll ever be near 
you. ..." 

I shouted, "For God's sake, talk 
straight! If you'd only tell me what's 
terrifying you — you can't stay here. 
Think, Bonny. We buried Andy this 
morning. You don't want to go to hell 
tonight, do you?" 

She had resumed her rocking back and 
forth, in the cradle of her own arms. 
"Andy this morning," she crooned. "To- 
morrow — Kitty. And the day after — 
who knows ? Maybe Bonny. Poor Kitty. 
Poor Bonny." 

I couldn't bear the picture her insane 
sing-song conjured in my mind. Bonny 
with her tawny hair to die like Kitty ! I 
slapped my sweetheart, hard. She whim- 
pered — and laughed ! 

I remember pleading and haranguing 
alternately, but nothing shook Bonny 
from her mad mood. I shot questions 
about the Quadrangle Club at her, but 
she kept crooning and laughing to her- 

self, in the ghastly mockery of a lullaby. 
Finally I said, "I'm calling up your moth- 
er. She'll spank you for this." 

"Mother's gone," said Bonny. "Poor 
Mother !" A telephone call to the Car- 
ters' proved she was right, for the time 
being, anyway. 

I'd had enough skirting on the edge of 
nerve-strangling mystery. I could think 
of only one man who might know some- 
thing — a very little something — and if I 
pooled my knowledge with his, we might 
together find a ray of blessed light. 

"Suki," I shouted, forgetting that there 
were still human ears left not deafened 
by madness. "Take care of Miss Carter. 
Don't let anyone in. I'll be back in an 
hour." I handed the boy my gun. He 
blinked, and nodded. Suki was a good 
boy, loyal and intelligent. 

Bonny laughed as I walked out into 
the night. 

T"\UKE wasn't at the office when I got 
- L ' there. They told me he'd gone to 
check some material for a special article 
on the Quadrangle Club, featured for 
front page release in the morning. I 
groaned, fell into Duke's swivel chair, 
and waited. 

There wasn't much humor in Duke's 
face when he came in, at eleven-thirty. 
He took one look at me, and said, "When 
did you eat last?" 

"I don't know. Maybe this morning." 

"Let's step across the street. I won't 
say what I have to say to a guy with an 
empty stomach." 

I didn't like the ham and eggs. I 
wouldn't have liked nectar and ambrosia, 
at that point. But Duke sat over me 
sternly, making me gulp the stuff down 
anyhow, and he only relaxed over my 
half-finished cup of coffee. 

"I've been over to the Quadrangle 
Club," he said harshly. "An umpty layout ; 
big brownstone front, thick curtains, and 
a stuffed butler at the door. Couldn't get 

Corpses on Parade 


in, though. God knows how they've kept 
the cops out after today's high-jinks. They 
sponsored the funeral, didn't they? Well, 
you need a ticket from the Social Register 
to crash. I didn't want to waste time." 

I said I'd heard all that before. The 
Quadrangle Club had been one of those 
things in the background all my life, like 
the Horse Show. 

"My lad," said Duke, his face one long 
grimace from the bald spot on his brow 
to the cleft in his narrow chin ; "do you 
know whom I saw in the lobby, just past 
the butler?" 

"No. You look as though it might have 
been a ghost." 

"Correct," said the Duke. "It was Andy 

There are points beyond which the mind 
cannot go, discrepancies of evidence which 
only the insane may enter and live. I knew, 
as soon as Duke told me that / believed 
him. And I know, too, that something 
snapped in my brain. It had to. I started 
moving, and moving fast. 

First, I drove through every red light 
on the route to my own apartment. I 
wasn't surprised to find Suki blubbering 
and frantic, and Bonny gone. That was 
part of the grotesquely hideous nightmare. 

"Miss Carter get telephone call. I not 
can stop her. She say — " Suki paused, 
and there was stark fear in his face — "her 
brother want her, she go. Is not Miss 
Carter's brother dead this morning ?" 

Dead ! Kitty Anders must have been 
dead a week before she stopped moving 
about in the land of the living ! What was 
to keep a corpse from rising then, if the 
dead forgot to die? 

It was only after I got to the Quad- 
rangle Club that the horror stopped. I 
put one finger on the doorbell and kept 
it there. The door opened to the width 
of a man's arm. Something bright flared 
astoundingJy in my face, and blinded me. 
I didn't see or feel whatever it was that 
smashed down on my skull and sent me 

into oblivion with a burst of shooting 

T FELT my head going round and round, 
•*- just before I opened my eyes, I ex- 
pected to wake up in hell, but they'd can- 
celed that trip, apparently, because I was 
in my own bed, with Suki's worried brown 
face bending over me, and Duke Living- 
stone's back between me and the window. 

Duke's mouth puckered as he turned. 
"Still with us?" he said. "When I found 
you in the gutter, you looked as though 
you had been done in for good." He 
paused and then exploded : "Nerts. What 
a set-up! The cops won't even touch it!" 

My mouth was dry, and there was a 
weight on top of my head, where I'd been 
cracked, that seemed a truckload. I said, 
"I'm not so sure," and reached for the 
phone. Sergeant Connor told me cheerily 
that everything was under control. 

"Then why the hell don't you raid that 
place?" I told him. 

The Sergeant answered, his cheer con- 
siderably shaken, "Now, me boy, we can't 
raid a respectable private club because of 
a coincidence." 

"A damned peculiar coincidence !" 

His voice dropped to a whisper. "We 
got orders — not to touch it!" When I 
expostulated, there was a soft click. . . . 

"Barry, there's only one way," Duke's 
voice was weary, as though he'd been up 
every night for a million years. "You've 
got that ticket I haven't got. You're a 
Social Register lad. Get in touch with the 
Quadrangle Club, and apply for member- 

It was a ticket, all right. A ticket to 
hell. But maybe I'd find Bonny in hell. . . . 
A brisk secretarial voice at the other end 
of the wire told me I would be investi- 
gated, and if I furnished the customery 
references, my membership would be con- 

Duke's article on the front page of the 
Chronicle that morning was one of those 


Dime Mystery Magazine 

brave damfool things that on!y cub re- 
porters and veteran editors have the nerve 
to do. He told his story simply, starting 
with Andy's funeral. There was Grant's 
suicide, and Kitty's. He stated flatly that 
Kitty hadn't killed herself for Grant's 
sake. "The popular young matron," said 
he, "was anything but a faithful and loving 

He hauled over the Quadrangle Club, 
briefly mentioning its history as a tony 
haven for the best people of the Eighties ; 
and he posed the question, reasonably 
enough, "Why has the ha-cha generation 
of blue-bloods joined the brownstone tra- 
dition ? Can it be that behind those vener- 
able portals there is a stimulus for those 
jaded appetites ; a pleasure so exhaustive 
that its ending leaves nothing but self- 
loathing and desire for death?" 

Duke grinned at me when I looked up 
at him, like a small boy who has made 
an offensive precocious remark and ex- 
pects to be told how bright he is. 

I said, "Nice work, Duke. I'm glad you 
left your latest hunches about the Carters 
out of it. That was decent." 

"A newspaperman is never decent. I 
left that out because I may not have 

"Proof!" I howled. "You can't prove 
anything. The Chronicle's going to run 
into the biggest libel suit in history." 

Duke smiled his sad, crooked, smile. 
"Maybe. But it won't go to trial tomor- 
row. And by the time we get our day in 
court, I'm gambling we'll have proof 
enough to halt the whole blamed mess." 

I'was finishing the second cup of black 
coffee. "And where would you be getting 
it?" I said. 

Duke didn't answer, just kept looking 
at me. 

"I know," I said. "You think I'm going 
to get it for you. God, I hope I can ! I 
hope I can find Bonny—" I didn't dodge 
his whimsical blow to the chin. It was 
his way of bucking me up. 

"You'll find her," he assured me. "If 
there's anyone who can crack the story, 
it's you. If you want an expense account 
on the Chronicle. . . ." 

I said, "No. I'm on my own." 

"Got to be going," said the Duke. 
"Think it over, Barry. A big paper has 
resources. Files of information, contacts 
... it can send you inside places you 
couldn't crack yourself. It's a help." 

I agreed with him. It was the brightest 
ray of light I'd seen yet. Duke gave me a 
press card, informing the police that Barry 
Amsterdam was working for the New 
York Chronicle, and left me to my own 


Doom Cracks Its Whip 

JUDGE RAINEY told me that after- 
noon in his office, "If I hadn't known 
your uncle, Barry, I'd throw you out! 
What do you mean, I'm blocking police in- 
vestigation ! Why would I do a thing like 
that? Why, I don't even belong to the 
damned club!" 

"But," I insisted, "you're the only poli- 
tical force in town that could. The others 
don't come from your kind of family." 

The Judge, a big man with a magnifi- 
cent silver head, forgot that he'd known 
ray uncle. He threw me out. , . . 

It seemed hopeless, hopeless. It might 
be three weeks before I'd pass that brown- 
stone front myself, and in the meantime, 
Bonny. ... I felt dry in the throat every 
time I thought of Bonny. It was like the 
thirst of a dying man lost in the Sahara. 

Something made me look up as I walked 
through the front lobby of the office build- 
ing. Something indescribably vile . . .and 
familiar. An odor of the charnel-house. . . . 

A woman, swathed to the eyebrows in 
silver fox, had just passed me. I recog- 
nized her at once as Judge Rainey's young 
and beautiful second wife. I ran after her, 
and grabbed her arm. She turned, and. . . 

Corpses on Parade 


I — I had known Thea Rainey as one of 
the town's huskier young glamor girls, 
seen her cantering an hour after dawn, 
heard her throaty alive laugh . . . and now 
I saw her with the cancer of death almost 
victorious in her wasted frame! 

"Barry Amsterdam," she said, and then 
she laughed — but what a laugh ! The 
ghost of her youth, chuckling in hell . . . 
and, God help her, she stank. Under the 
heaviness of her perfume, there was a rank 
odor of decaying flesh. . . . 

I had dropped her arm, but she re- 
trieved mine. I shuddered at the touch, 
and she knew it, and licked her lips. 

"They'll get you too," she whispered. 
"You're a nice lad, Barry. Once — you 
didn't know it, did you ? — I fancied I loved 
you. They'll bring you to me in death, 
Barry . . . they'll let me kiss you. . , ." 

I went back to Thea's apartment with 
her. It took every ounce of stomach I 
had, but I went. She promised she'd talk, 
if we were alone . . . she even seemed to 
know where Bonny was. . . . 

Her butler served us sandwiches and 
highballs. She touched neither. When I 
had pleaded with her for agonizing 
minutes, she rose. Her chalky face as- 
sumed an expression of terrible despair. 

"You want to know what they do to 
us?" she whispered, tensely, crazily. "I'll 
show you !" Before I could stop her, she 
had zipped her dress open from throat to 
hem. She stepped out of it. I cried, 
"Stop !" but she didn't stop. She stepped 
out of her slip, and I saw the white 
diaphragm below her brassiere, gleaming 
uncleanly . . . she tore off the brassiere, and 
the silk shorts. In hideous nudity, she 
advanced one step toward me. Her breasts, 
her hips, seemed half -decomposed . . . and 
the smell I It was like the fumes that might 
arise from a city's garbage lying for hours 
under an August sun. . . . 

And then I was engulfed in a putrefac- 
tion that had been the beauty of Thea 
Rainey, Her arm, white as the under- 

side of a fish belly, twined about my neck, 
she pressed her naked body to me, she 
darted her face close to mine. 

I felt the kiss of loathsome death, and 
when I would have withdrawn, she 
pressed closer. Then — I've read about 
lips melting in an embrace, but I'll never 
read it again without being sick. For that 
was exactly what Thea's Hps did. They 
squashed, with the same hideous plosh of 
rotten fruit that had marked the disinte- 
gration of Kitty's band. . , . 

I didn't turn to look. I ran. My mouth 
felt ghoutishly filthy, as though I were a 
cannibal epicure. I ran right to the Chroni- 
cle office. 

"Duke," I said, "I know why the police 
won't touch it. It's not Rainey. It's 
Rainey's wife. . . ." 

And then I was suddenly very sick. 

TPHEA RAINEY'S funeral was held 
■*■ next day at St. Anne's. Society was 
there ; but it was a weirdly changed so- 
ciety from the polite group that had met 
two days before at Andy Carter's funeral. 
In fifty hours, the upper crust of Man- 
hattan had been transformed to a cower- 
ing half-idiocy ... no one mentioned the 
haste of the burial. We were thinking of 
other things. Each of us seemed menaced 
by some unholy destruction. We did not 
speak to each other. 

More, by two score, were the faces that 
wore an expression of hopeless despair. 
And we knew, we who had escaped so 
far, that they were the doomed . . . they 
told us nothing, though they had been our 
friends, and our loved ones. 

There was a great wreath of flowers 
from the Quadrangle Club. But its roses 
and lilies were not enough to combat the 
mingled odor of strong perfumes that rose 
from those who had come to honor the 
dead. Perfumes that covered a vague but 
unmistakeable odor of decay. Thea Rainey 
had been emblamed cleverly ; they had 
drained her blood and replaced the broken 


Dime Mystery Magazine 

features with wax. But for her friends, 
the dying, no such service had been ren- 

I didn't go to the burial. I needed fresh 
air. I walked aimlessly about town that 
forenoon. I wasn't quite sane, I think. A 
dozen times, I followed some woman 
simply because she had red hair . . . but 
she was never Bonny. 

Bonny ! Had the thing touched her yet, 
the fifthy disease that a doctor in Thea's 
case, had despairingly named heart dis- 
ease ? Why hadn't she been at the funeral ? 
Was she stolen, or killed? 

I saw the last cars of Thea's cortege 
winding southward on Park. Dully I 
watched them; they were bound for a 
cemetery in Brooklyn. 

But the last — was that a glimpse of 
tawny hair I caught behind the curtained 
window — made a U-turn, and headed 
north. North ! They had buried Andy in 
Westchester . . . and Bonny had said she 
was going to — her brother ! 

I taxied to my garage, took my car, and 
stamped on the accelerator. It wasn't 
clever, half -blinded with dread as I was ; 
for by the time I'd located Sergeant Con- 
nor, and had him explain me out of traffic 
court in Yonkers, it was three-thirty. I 
was at Hawthorne by five . . . and when I 
came to the cemetery night was on me. 
Night without a moon. . . . 

The gates were locked, so I clambered 
over the wall. In the darkness the tomb- 
stones were a glimmering reproach to one 
who would discover their secrets. I crept 
along stealthily to Andy's grave. Once I 
saw a swinging lantern, and I ducked be- 
hind a monument, hugging the dank cold 
earth that was nourished on death. 

But there were no lights where we had 
left Andy. There was a pile of fresh earth 
where his stone had been, and the grave- 
pit yawned wide open. With the cold sweat 
pouring down my face, I peered from be- 
hind the dirt-pile. . . . 

Two hooded figures stood on either side 

of the unlidded coffin. And lying within, 
her pale hands crossed over the emblaming 
sheet, her violet eyes alive with mad fear, 
was Bonny ! 

They were lifting the lid, ready to put 
it into place ... I jumped toward the near- 
est figure, caught him in a frantic half- 
Nelson, and pushed. Like a frightened 
ghost, the other figure leapt away. 

"Barry, you don't know what you're 
doing !" shrieked Bonny. I didn't listen. 
I kept pushing. Beneath the black robe, I 
felt that familiar puttiness. 

Bonny stood up in the coffin, her hair 
falling over her shoulders, pure as a dream 
of heaven in her white dead-dress. "Barry, 
let me die. . . . This isn't a hard death ! 
It's over so soon . . . not like the others. . . . 
Let me save you, Barry!" 

"TJIMLY, through the wild hate that 
throbbed in my brain, I knew that she 
was giving her life for my salvation. I 
didn't want that, God, no! I pushed, a 
little harder . . . and the brain of the 
hooded thing splashed out of the rotted 
skull. I dropped the body. It fell with a 
soft whoosh against the coffin. When I 
snatched off the hood, I saw no face, only 
battered brain and hone. . . . 

Bonny screamed. I turned, and saw the 
other hooded thing reaching down on me 
with the butt end of a revolver. No time 
to duck ... I took it. 

Later, I would remember as though in 
a dream, that a black devil had carried 
Bonny away. But it would be no dream, 
because when I awoke, just before dawn, 
I was to find myself lying, cold and aching, 
across an open coffin in an open grave. 

When I got back to town that morning, 
Suki handed me a single thing that had 
come by mail. It was a neat little invita- 
tion, black on white, asking me to attend 
my initiation at the "Quadrangle Club that 
night, with the polite reminder, "Formal," 
in a lower left-hand corner. I looked at it 
till the letters danced — and fell into a 

Corpses on Parade 


drugged sleep of nervous exhaustion. 

I awoke toward evening. Suki had laid 
out my soup and fish. I felt fresher, freer- 
to think for the first time in days. That 
card . . . they'd rushed it, I thought , . . 
and I wondered if there were not some 
connection between last night's episode at 
the grave, and this morning's invitation. 
Either last night I had blundered on too 
much, or else . . . and another thought 
made me pause ... or else the whole thing 
had been deliberate, that glimpse I'd 
caught of Bonny, luring me to witness a 
witless scene in a graveyard. 

Too many horrors had forced them- 
selves on my awareness in the immediate 
past. As I dressed, I thought how in- 
credible it should be that I was going to 
the Quadrangle Club to unearth the grisli- 
est of imaginable horrors . . . the Quad- 
rangle Club, that had been for fifty years 
a guarded haven of wealth and prestige. 
It was almost insane, but then, my world 
had been insane for days. 

Even as I drove over, the thought per- 
sisted that I was going on a fool's errand. 
I wondered why . . . somewhere at the 
back of my head a gap persisted, some- 
thing I should have known, that eluded my 
dulled senses. 

I pulled myself together, and went 
through the brownstone portals. 

Old-generation tone. Cut-glass chande- 
liers, and the gentlemen taking their port 
in the card room. That was the Quad- 
rangle Club. I recognized most of the 
members of my own set, the moderns and 
their would-be modern mammas and 

But we were stiff and strange with each 
other. Incense burned almost overpower- 
ingly everywhere, but it was not enough to 
hide that other smell. . . Half the faces 
were chalky and tragic, the other half like 
polite masks over real terror. Nowhere 
did I see Bonny. 

"So you've joined too, Barry," Mona 
Wells said to me. She was a charming 

kid, lithe and dark and vibrant, recently 
married to a friend of mine, Martin Wells. 
But here, for a reason I could not fathom, 
her brown eyes were pools of sorrow. 

I said, "Where's Mart? Haven't seen 
him around for a while." 

The wine-glass in her fingers cracked 
at the stem. Her eyes grew mad. "Martin's 
been ill," she whispered. Then, "He shot 
himself at seven this evening. I left him 
lying in his blood." 

"My God, Mona ! What are you doing 
at — a party?" 

"Party!" Her voice was the voice of an 
animal being tortured. "It was my invita- 
tion to join . . ." 

When I tried to follow her, she lost 
herself among the guests. 

TT was all I could do to keep from run- 
ning berserk among the guests, shak- 
ing them like rats to get the information 
I wanted. They were al! peoph in whose 
families there had been recent tragedy — 
like Mona. Had Martin told her before he 
died ? Was that why he died ? And where 
was Bonny? Did she know , . . too much, 

Music came from the dim hallway, and 
in the glittering drawing-room, guests 
were dancing. What a dance that was! 
Like the slow waltz of decaying corpses, 
who had entered hell in evening dress ! 

I stood and watched vainly among them 
for a girl with tawny hair. I felt a light 
tap on my shoulder, and there stood the 
portly butler, with Mona Wells, white 
and shaken, at his side. 

"Mr. Amsterdam, if you please, I've re- 
ceived word that the initiation is to be- 
gin. Won't you come upstairs for your 

We followed him up the winding old- 
fashioned staircase, Mona still refusing to 
look at me. At the end of a corridor, the 
butler swung open a door, and deferential- 
ly waited for me to enter. "In here, sir . , ," 
I paused, for the room was in darkness. 


Dime Mystery Magazine 

Then I shrugged my shoulder-s. Nothing 
much was left to lose ... I passed the 
obsequious figure and went into darkness. 

I heard the click of a lock behind me, 
and footsteps fading down the hall. 

I found a wall by groping, and leaned 
against it. A voice, muffled as though it 
came through a filtered microphone, said, 
"That will do nicely, Barry Amsterdam. 
You may stand as you are." 

I answered, "Who the hell are you?" 
My voice sounded grim, as though it were 
echoing from wall to wall of that small 
room, as though the room were a cata- 
comb. . . . 

"I am Justice, if you like a name." The 
voice, I told myself, in spite of the stiff- 
ness of those short hairs at my nape, must 
be human. Again that pestering gap ! It 
was a joke. ... I said as much. 

"This is not a joke," the voice went 
on. "Justice has long been due to you and 
your kind — parasites, despoilers, fatteners 
on the land ! There is in each of your 
lives, or in the lives of those you pretend 
to love, some crime too ugly for public 
knowledge. But Justice knows!" 

Of course it was a human voice ! 
Damnably human ! That pestering thought 
at the back of my head was beginning to 
click ... in a moment, I'd have my finger 
on it. I said, "What is this? Blackmail?" 

As though it had not heard me, the 
muffled voice continued, "And you, Barry 
Amsterdam ... we have waited for you 
a long, long time! Too long you have 
escaped the fate you merit, but you will 
not escape now." 

The thing had clicked. / knew the name 
of the man behind that voice. It had been 
so evident, all along, that I'd missed it! 
Exultantly I realized that at last I was 
one step ahead of him, because I knew who 
he was, and he didn't know I knew it. I 
couldn't blurt it out now. It might have 
been my death sentence. 

To keep my voice steady, I yelled, "So 
what ?" 

"You will mail to the Quadrangle Club 
in the morning a check for one hundred 
thousand dollars. You will shun the so- 
ciety of friends. You will do our bidding, 
come at our call, and respond out of your 
generosity to any further call for funds." 

"The hell I will !" 

"You will do these things, or else the 
death that rots before it kills will come 
to Bonny Carter." 

I shouted, "You dirty perverted mur- 
derer !" I wanted to hit something, hard, 
but you can't hit at a voice. 

"We are glad to accommodate with 
proof," the voice slurred on. Then I had 
to grab at the wall, because the floor 
started tilting under me, like one of those 
crazy things at Coney Island. I felt my- 
self slipping, gently, to a lower level in 
the building where there was light. 


The Scent Of Burning Flesh 

T BLINKED a little. I was in a sort of 
A cage, constructed by driving iron bars 
in a semicircle from floor to ceiling of a 
stone-walled room. The back wall of the 
cage was the section of the floor that had 
just swung down. At a height of ten feet 
there was a gap in the rails, through which 
I had fallen ; and a sort of gate in front 
of me, latched on the outside. 

The room beyond my cage was large 
and rectangular and had a platform ex- 
tending across the far end. A big machine, 
something like a gigantic searchlight, oc- 
cupied the left side of it. Wide cracks of 
light in the long wall to my left indicated 
a shut door. 

There was a chair just in front of the 
camera-thing, a wooden chair, with leather 
straps about the legs and back. I peered, 
trying to find a sign of life in the purplish 

Far to the left, in the shadows, two 
figures gleamed, luminously white. I cried 
out in sheer horror at the sight of them 

Corpses on Parade 


. , , they were women, nude, bound upright 
to stone pillars. 

One of them was Bonny. Bands of ad- 
hesive covered her mouth. 

Had I found her — too late? I went 
crazy mad, tried to force the steel bars that 
kept me from her, shouted insane chal- 
lenges to the thing that had done this to 

Two black-robed figures stepped from 
behind the machine. One of them stood 
guard over the helpless women ; it was 
hooded, and I recognized it as the thing 
that had spirited Bonny out of her 
brother's coffin, that had taunted me a few 
minutes ago in the dark room. 

I was cold with despair, because I knew 
who he was. I knew, but my knowledge 
had come too late — I could do nothing. 
And Bonny in deadly danger. . . . 

The other figure was not hooded — it 
was the club's butler ! He descended from 
the platform and walked toward me, com- 
ing to a stop just out of reach of my arms. 
His robe fell open a little and I caught 
a glimpse of the heavy automatic that 
nestled in its holster under his shoulder. 
God ! I thought. If I could only get my 
hands on that gun for thirty seconds ! 

The butler said, "Sir, the master wishes 
you to witness an exhibition. He trusts 
it will bring you around to his way of 
thinking." He retreated, and while my 
heart went berserk in my throat, I saw 
him unbind one of the struggling nude 
figures, and strap her to the plain wooden 

Not Bonny, thank God ! The girl fac- 
ing that evil-looking machine was Mona 
Wells. Like a demon lecturer explaining 
his lantern slides, the butler continued 
suavely, "Mrs. Wells has also refused to 
accede to our wishes. She has one more 
chance before we accomplish her end — a 
Httle prematurely, to be sure." 

Mona shrieked in horror, "I won't do 
itl You ean't make me, you murdering 
fiends! You got Martin, didn't you? 

Well, you can send me after him!" 

As though it were a step in a routine, 
the butler opened that door on the left 
wall . . . light flooded the chamber. There, 
behind a network of iron bars, like the 
door to a prison, their foul white fiaces mad 
with hatred of the fiend who had destroyed 
them, stood the legion of the cursed — the 
rotting ! Beyond them, I saw the sad but 
still-human faces of the others. 

"Mrs. Wells," said the butler, "will do 
nicely for your education, Mr. Amster- 
dam." He stepped behind the machine. I 
heard a whirring sound, and there was a 
sudden, blinding flash of light accom- 
panied by the sickening smell of burnt 
flesh. Mona shrieked again. God, I'll hear 
those shrieks in a dream the night before 
I die! 

It had happened ! That was all it took ; 
a whirring sound, a flash of light, and you 
— started to rot ! I joined her shrieks. 
Over and over again I screamed at the 
hooded monster and the inhuman butler: 
"You damned swine ! You damned 
swine !" 

Mona's voice died to a whine, and be- 
came silent. She slumped in her bonds. 
The butler undid her straps and led her 
back to the pillar and tied her up again. 
Her head slumped forward on her chest 
— she was unconscious. I hoped that she 
was dead. 

The butler glanced at her once and then 
came over and stood near my cage — a Httle 
nearer than before. I could have almost 
reached out and touched him. A sudden 
inspiration flashed through my mind. It 
was a slim and desperate chance . . . but 
it might work ! If only I could get him 
one step closer. . . . 

The rotting corpses who once were my 
friends were silent now behind their bars 
— silent with hopeless terror and despair. 

*"pHE hooded figure turned toward me. 
•*■ An unholy chuckle escaped from un- 
der the hood. "Do you see your friends 


Dime Mystery Magazine 

now, Barry Amsterdam ? Do you see 
them as they are? As you will be soon? 
Their bodies are rotting now even as their 
souls rotted long ago. It is Justice and 
they are afraid of Justice. They are afraid 
of me ! Those who have not yet felt the 
power of my — for want of a better name, 
shall be call it Radium X-Ray? — treat- 
ment, know that their time to face it will 
surely come. 

"They don't know me, Barry Amster- 
dam, these sons and daughters of the four 
hundred. I am only one of the forty mil- 
lion. But they are afraid of me! They 
know that they are safe only so long as 
they obey me. They cannot escape, for no 
matter where they go, I can follow them 
—because they don't know who I am. I 
can sit beside them on the train or drink 
with them at their houses, and they will 
not know that Justice has overtaken them. 
They will never know — until it is too late 
and their souls are roasting in hell!" 

He stopped suddenly and gestured 
toward Bonny. ''Perhaps another demon- 
stration will convince you, Barry Amster- 
dam, that it is better to submit to me. She 
no longer has any money, so she can no 
longer obey my commands. It is time for 
her to meet the death her rotten soul de- 

It had come ! I could wait no longer. 
The single card I held must be played — a 
slim, last, desperate hope. . . . 

I shouted : 

"No one else may know you now . . . 
but I know you — Duke Livingstone !" 

The hooded figure uttered a roar of 
rage and sprang toward his fiendish ma- 
chine. The butler, his face white with 
sudden fear, took an involuntary step 
toward me — started to draw his pistol. 

This was what I had hoped for! At 
the same moment I had shouted Duke Liv- 
ingstone's name, I thrust my arms through 
the bars of my cage. My hands clasped 
behind the butler's neck and with the 
strength of a madman, I jerked his head 

toward me. There was the sodden crunch 
of flesh and bone meeting hard iron and 
the butler's form went slack in my arms. 

Duke Livingstone had halted momen- 
tarily in astonishment at my sudden action, 
and that hesitation was all I needed. Hold- 
ing the unconcious butler against the bars 
with one arm, my other hand darted to 
his half-drawn automatic. I fired two 
quick shots. 

Duke spun heavily, reeled back a half- 
dozen paces, and slumped to the floor. 
I fired three more shots into his twitching 
body. It jerked convulsively and then was 

As the echos of the shots died away 
there was absolute silence for a few sec- 
onds. I heard a high-pitched voice scream. 
"The butler has the keys !" and then all 
hell broke loose. Shrieking imprecations 
and crying for me to free them so that they 
might tear their former tormentors to 
pieces, the mob of living corpses beat fran- 
tically at the iron bars of their prison, 
while the yet untainted were almost hys- 
terical with joy. 

T found the keys, but before freeing the 
others I released Bonny and held my coat 
about her head as we hurried from that 
hellish room so that she could not see the 
sickening and ghoulish fate of Duke Liv- 
ingstone and the butler. . . . 

UT SUPPOSE it drove him crazy," I 

■*■ explained to the reduced group of 
friends who had survived. "He was always 
saying that it got him, knowing the tilings 
he knew about people." 

"He was a devil !" moaned Jane An- 
ders, Grant's sister. "He got Judg£ 
Rainey's wife, to keep the police off; us. 
He played husband against wife, mother 
against child. He was a ghoul 1" 

"We mustn't talk about it," Bonny 
whispered. "Barry, take me home," 

She nestled against me in the car. 
"Barry, I tried to save you. That's why, 
yesterday, when I caught a glimpse of you 

Corpses on Parade 


from the car, I showed myself, hoping 
you'd follow me. If you couldn't rescue 
me at once, I thought at least you'd see 
that the mess was far too loathsome for 
you to bother with." 

My arm wound tighter about her. "You 
thought that would keep me away ! Bonny, 
didn't you know I loved you?"I thought 
for a moment of the inanity of women, and 
of the courage of this one. "But Bonny," 
I said, "why did you leave my apartment 
the night I left you with Suki ?" 

She shuddered slightly. "Duke Living- 
stone called and told me Andy was alive, 
that he'd seen him. He seemed to think 
I knew more about it that he did, so I 
didn't think anything was wrong, till I 
found myself his prisoner. He kept me 
gagged most of the time. . . ." 

I swore softly at the dead. . . . "If I'd 
only realized what I should have realized 
a little earlier ! I might at least have saved 
poor Mona Wells. It kept bothering me, 
what the tie-up was between the Quad- 
rangle Club and the horrors. I was help- 
less before it dawned on me that Duke was 
the tie-up. He had to be the man. It was 
he who'd suggested it to me in the first 
place. If it hadn't been for Duke, there 
just wouldn't have been a tie-up — either 
in my mind or in the newspapers. I won- 
der why he didn't try to keep it a secret?" 

"Duke wanted his scheme to have pub- 
licity, because, I imagine, he was about 
ready to close operations in New York. 
With Thea Rainey dead, he couldn't stave 

off an investigation much longer. And 
when the investigation started, he'd be out 
from under. Then he meant to give the 
horror as much front page space as pos- 
sible, so that when he started operations 
elsewhere under the same disguise, people 
would be afraid of him. 

"He meant to use you, Barry, either as 
a victim or an ally. If you'd been fright- 
ened off at the graveyard — if you hadn't 
come to the Club — you'd have been his 
chief character witness at an investiga- 
tion. But you came, Barry — and you 
saved all of us who were left to save." 

I had been nodding as she explained, 
and suddenly I felt that my head wasn't 
going to nod any more at my volition. I 
was really faint. I pulled up to a curb, ex- 
plained, and let Bonny take the wheel. 

"Dearest, what's the matter?" she asked 

I said, "That darned clout on the head 
T took last night. Wonder if I should have 
it X-rayed." 

"No !" She almost shrieked at me. 
"Don't — even — think of that word again !" 
* * * 

I had it X-rayed, nevertheless, but there 
wasn't anything wrong except a bump. 
Bonny doesn't know about that. Our 
home life is about as harmonious as things 
human can be, but — I hope and pray 
neither of us needs an X-ray again ! Be- 
cause I still remember the look in Bonny 's 
violet eyes, when I mentioned the 
word. . . . 

WE AMERICANS are an incredulous people. We do not like to believe in 
anything we cannot see or touch. When something occurs that we cannot 
quite understand or account for, we are only too likely to shrug it off as 
being impossible, and forget about it as quickly as we can .... Yet who among 
us can understand the common, everyday facts of life or death? 

We like to think of ourselves as being 
a progressive people — as possessing 
greater knowledge and wisdom than ever 
man had before. Yet many of our modern 
discoveries and inventions were common- 
place in the great civilizations that flour- 
ished while we were but half-naked 

powers .... Still in some of the des- 
olate, out-of-the-way fastnesses of this 
vast continent, there are small bands of 
Indians whose legends tell of how the 
gods came to them eons ago and taught 
them their mysteries, and whose fearful 
rites are traceable to no known source. 

savages, roaming the vast forests with no They are different from other Indians 
thought but to keep our bellys full. It is and the very few men who have pene- 

a strange and somewhat awesome 
thought ! Men who have spent their en- 
tire lives among the meager ruins that 
are all that these ancient races have left 
to us, say that we have no more than 
tapped the secrets of their lost sciences 
and forgotten powers—that the greatest 
wonders of the past are still hidden 
from us. 

trated their strongholds — and have re- 
turned alive — have told such fantastic 
tales of the eerie and occult powers of 
their priests and chiefs, that, not so very 
long ago, these brave men would have 
been burned as witches .... 

In the May issue of DIME MYS- 
TERY MAGAZINE, J. O. Quinhven 
takes us to the home of one of these 
What happened to these once magnifi- strange tribes whose murderous rites and 
cent cities? Did any of their peoples escape - ' ' - r 

whatever dreadful scourge it was that 
could so suddenly and so completely de- 
stroy a whole civilization? No one knows 
... but it seems probable that a few 
must have survived. And that these mis- 
erable wretches, fleeing to distant lands, 

ancient curses went back to the earliest 
men on our continent — almost, it might 
be said, to the ages before man. From 
them came the severed head, its teeth still 
dripping blood, that lay beside the torn 
body of the Mexican girl. And to them 
went Margaret Trellis and Bob Daven- 

„„.igled with the roaming savage tribes port— to witness the awful "Dance of the 
and passed on to them some of their secret Blood Drinkers" .... 


Dime Mystery Magazine 

(Continued from page 87) 
like you wouldn't do such a thing . . . ." 

T>UT Doctor Keiland didn't need Car- 
dell's answering sardonic chuckle to 
asure him that the heartless demon was, 
in fact, quite capable of operating on his 
daughter without giving her an anasthetic 
— and of deriving an evil pleasure from 
the monstrous act. 

"You're mad, Carlos. You can't get 
away with it. . . ." 

Cardell chuckled again. "I rather fancy 
I can," he said. "You see there will be 
no one to testify against me. I presume 
that someone knows that you came up 
here this afternoon for the purpose of 
having Helen's patella set. Therefore I 
shall set Helen's patella with the greatest 
care. I assure you that I shall do a job 
that any surgeon in the world would be 
proud of — supposing that anyone else 
were capable of performing it besides my- 
self. I'm sure that it will attract favor- 
able comment from the medical examiner 
at the post mortem." 

"The — the post mortem — ?" 

"Ah, yes. I'm sorry to be the bearer 
of bad news, Doctor, but I am quite sure 
that on the way down the mountain this 
evening you and Helen are going to have 
a most lamentable accident. Your car is 
going over the cliff just below the last 
turn before you reach the valley. And 
since both of you will be in it at the 
time, you will naturally both come to a 
tragic end. However, you will actually 
have departed this life seme minutes be- 
fore^ — and in a most entertaining manner 
— in this very room." 

As he spoke, a faint smile curving his 
lips, Cardell ran the tips of his fingers in 
a possessively lustful manner over the 
smooth skin of Helen's naked, body. Un- 
der its slight stimulant the girl stirred, 
and presently, to her father's horror, 
opened her eyes and gazed about in a 
dazed, uncomprehending manner. 
(Centinued on page 106) 





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Monster of His Making 


(Continued from page 105) 

Unable to restrain himself in the tide 
of grief and terror which overwhelmed 
him, Doctor Kelland cried out, "Helen I 
Oh, God, Helen—" 

The girl looked toward him, where he 
sat in the shadows. "Yes, father," she 
murmured, her mind still cloyed with the 
last effects of the anasthetic 

Then a movement at her side caused 
the girl to turn her head and her eyes 
fell on the fantastic figure of Cardell, 
"Great heavens, Carlos," she exclaimed, 
"What are you doing in that costume?" 

The evil smile on the young man's face 
deepened. "I doubt whether you would 
understand, my dear," he said. "Put it 
down to a perverted taste for the the- 
atrical. I am about to indulge myself 
in a rare pleasure — that of arousing cer- 
tain emotions which, in another man, are 
gratified with comparative ease, but which 
it my case require rather powerful stinr- 

As he finished speaking, Cardell took a 
gleaming scalpel from the small table at 
his side and bent over Helen's defense- 
less body. 

The girl's tortured writhings were held 
firmly in check by the cruelly tight straps 
which bound her to the table. Her 
screams, which all her fortitude was un- 
able to repress as the fiendish surgeon's 
knives bit intp the sensitive nerves of her 
knee, blended with Doctor Kelland's help- 
less, desperate cursing. Then, finally she 
fainted, and although the satanic gleam 
of pleasure faded from Cardell's eyes as 
she did so, he kept working until the 
operation was finished and the wound 
closed and bandaged. Then he carefully 
prepared a new plaster cast, and encased 
the girl's leg in it. Before she regained 
consciousness, the operation was over. 

But this, as Doctor Kelland knew only 
too well, was just the beginning. Cardell 
had performed the operation to provide 
himself with an alibi. After the bodies 
had been unearthed from the wreckage of 

Dime Mystery Magazine 

their car, he would tell of their visit to 
his mountain home for the purpose of 
having the operation performed on 
Helen's knee. The testimony of Kelland's 
servants, and the condition of the knee, 
itself would substantiate his story. 

Cardell straightened, and under the 
weird red light which poured down on 
him from above, lie was the picture of 
Satan incarnate. He grinned at Kelland, 
and then turned his eyes, ablaze, now, 
with unholy lust, on the girl lying 
stretched on the operating table. His 
hands slid lasciviously over her nude, 
helpless body, bestowing unspeakable 

"It's a pity such beauty must be de- 
stroyed, my dear," he murmured. "Soon 
I shall have to open your white skin and 
let your bright blood flow away. And that 
will bring me far greater ecstasy than 
the kisses you would never give to me. 
But first you shall give me something else 
— whether you desire it or not. . . . But 
perhaps, before it is over, you will de- 
sire it. . . ." 

TTE was bending over the girl, press- 
ing his body against hers, caressing 
her with a growing fever of passion when 
suddenly his movements were arrested by 
a cry of mingled despair and rage from 
Doctor Kelland. 

"For God's sake, man, if you are foul 
enough actually to go through with this 
thing, at least have the decency to kill me, 

Slowly Cardell arose from the body of 
his victim, the diabolical leer on his face 
deepening as he gazed toward the shad- 
ow-shrouded wall where Kelland sat. 

"Well, now, Doctor," he said, "that 
really was not a part of my plans. But 
you do give me an idea. Both you and 
Helen are going to die of wounds which 
will appear to have been made by the fly- 
ing fragments of your car's windshield. 
I believe they will both be abdominal, and 
(Continued on page 108) 


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Dime Mystery Magazine 

(Continued from page 107) 
I rather think you will take quite a long 
time dying. So I think I shall give you 
your wounds, now, so that your attention 
will be somewhat distracted from which I 
shall be doing to your daughter in a few 
minutes. An interesting substitute for the 
coup be grace, is it not ?" 

As he spoke, Cardell picked up a scalpel 
and started walking toward the bound and 
helpless figure sitting against the west 
wall. But Doctor Kelland was hardly 
aware of his approach, Within the past 
five minutes he had discovered an un- 
stoppered bottle of carbolic acid standing 
on a shelf next to him, and he had con- 
ceived an almost hopelessly desperate 
plan. Almost hopelessly desperate — yet 
it represented the sole chance of saving 
Helen from this unspeakable demon. 

As Cardell came close to him, Doctor 
Kelland suddenly bent his head sideways, 
gripped the neck of the carbolic acid bot- 
tle in his teeth and raised it to his mouth. 
Cardell, fearing that he was about to lose 
a cherished victim through suicide, sprang 
forward with an angry cry. As he did so, 
Doctor Kelland allowed the bottle to fall 
from his mouth, to crash onto the floor, 
and the next instant spewed a mouthful of 
terrible acid into CardeU's face ! 

The man's agonized shriek was joined 
by the old surgeon's horrible choked 
coughing. The acid was burning away 
the lining of his mouth, searing his tongue 
and soft palate. Helen, from her operat- 
ing table, had been able to turn her head 
enough to see the desperate performance, 
and she cried out wordlessly to her father. 

Cardell, shrieking and cursing, tore 
madly at his eyes with both hands. He 
staggered, felt to the floor, clawed his way 
to his feet again, and went blundering 
blindly about the room, seeking among 
the bottles of the shelves of his cabinets 
an antidote for the acid which was burn- 
ing the eyes out of his head. 

"Oh, God!" he screamed. "I'm blind — 
blind !" 

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Monster of His Making 

He fell to the floor again, threshed 
about in a convulsion of agony, until, at 
length, the paroxysms became less violent. 
Kelland continued to cough steadily and 
struggle weakly against the ropes which 
held him to his chair. He was half in- 
sensible with pain, and he knew that he 
had won only a temporary victory over 
his Satanic opponent. Cardell would still 
be able to grope his way about enough 
to find them, as soon as his pain had sub- 
sided, and he would surely kill them, even 
though he would be unable to carry out 
his plan of wrecking their car, and thus 
directing suspicion away from himself. 

As though in confirmation of his worst 
fears, Cardell presently stumbled blindly 
to his feet. He pawed his way to the in- 
strument stand beside the operating table 
and picked up a scalpel. He raised his 
head then, and his face was a horror of 
seared flesh and bloody, sightless eyes. 
He grinned with a ghastly grimace. 

UrriHAT'S right, Doctor," he whis- 
pered hoarsely, "keep on coughing. 
It will help me to locate you. I'm afraid 
I won't be able to do as neat a job as 
I had planned — but it will be just as effec- 
tive, and I will enjoy it even more.' 7 

Doctor Kelland knew, then, that his 
hour had indeed struck. He was utterly 
unable to control the terrible coughs and 
groans which his pain wrenched from his 
body. Cardell, guided by the sounds, 
would find him — and after that, he would 
locate Helen. . . . 

The demon-faced surgeon crept slowly 
toward his bound and helpless victim, the 
hand gripping the scalpel raising expect- 
antly as he drew nearer. Then, when he 
had approached within a half dozen feet, 
(Continued on page 110) 




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Dime Mystery Magazine 

(Continued from page 109) 
he suddenly filing himself forward, as 
though no longer able to curb his fero- 
cious impatience, and began slashing out 
with the scalpel. 

The first blow ripped through the old 
practitioner's coat sleeve, and the next 
found a mark in his side. He flinched as 
he felt the hot sting of the steel, and Car- 
dcll giving vent to an animal grunt of sat- 
isfaction, went on slashing wildly, his face 
contorted into a mask of fiendish pleasure. 

Then, suddenly, Doctor Kelland felt 
one of the ropes that bound his arms to 
his body give way. One of Cardell's wild 
slashes had severed it, and Kelland found 
lhat bis right arm was almost free! He 
began immediately to push forward on 
the rope which bound his upper arm 
against his body, and as Cardell buried 
the scalpel in his left shoulder, the old 
surgeon suddenly freed his entire right 

The pain of his shoulder wound stung 
him to energetic action. He swung out 
savagely, and struck the blood-thirsting 
beast, who was cutting him to pieces, 
square on the point of the jaw. 

The blow caught the younger man off 
balance, his feet slipped on the glazed 
tiling, and he crashed down, striking his 
head with an audible crack against the 
corner of a surgical cabinet. 

Doctor Kelland freed himself from the 
remainder of his bonds in less than a min- 
ute. Then he was at his daughter's side, 
slicing with a scalpel through the straps 
which held her. Just as Cardell began to 
stir again, Kelland lifted her with a super- 
human effort and carried her into the hall- 
way, and out to the car which awaited 
them in the driveway — die car which was 
to have become their coffin. 

Depositing the nude form of his daugh- 
ter on the back seat, Doctor Kelland cov- 
ered her with a robe, staggered around to 
the driver's seat, and started the motor 
just as a ghastly figure appeared at the 
door of the house, mouthing unintelligible 



From a MI0ICAL JOURNAL: "The researches (of these doctor*) 
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come this, they prescribe various alkalies." 




Monster of His Making 

shrieks, pawing blindly through the empty 
air with clawed hands which still searched 
for his escaping victims. 

Doctor Kelland meshed the gears and 
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Five miles away was the State Hospital. 
There he could obtain relief from the 
burning agony of his mouth, the throb- 
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when again he could take his place in the 
operating room, wielding the knife, per- 
haps with not quite as much skill as in 
other days, but still well enough to bring 
relief to many a suffering human being. 
He asked no more from life than that. . . . 

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I myseir was once a 07-pound weakling— sickly, half-alive. Then I dis- 
covered "Dynamic Tension." And I twice won — against all comers — the 
title, "The World's Most Perfectly Developed Man"l 

[ have no use for apparatus. "Dynamic Tension" ALONE (right in 
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Make me PROVE it! Gamble a postage stamp. Rend coupon for my 
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For quick results 
I recommend 


Developed Man." 
Thin, is NOT a 


115 East 23rd Street, New York, N. Y. 

I want proof that DYNAMIC TENSION will make a 
new man of me— give me u. lu-ulUiv. husk;, body ami tug 
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»S6 » 

Are Camels Really different from 
other Cigarettes ? 



. .. H. W. DALY, 34, rayon 
salesman, and millions of 
other steady smokers say: 
'Camels are really differ- 
ent." Camels are preferred 
by the largest body of 
smokers ever known. 


grand feed. " We enjoy 
aining," she says. 
" I like plenty of Camels 
ac the table. Camels 
cheer up 
They even cheered up 
Bill's dispi 


A matchless 
blend of finer — 

Turkish and Domestic 

"Camels agree with me" 

lO* DIME < 




ft ATI/* f- L£HG TM 

MYsnitr-TeD/io/i Mom 




unfoiKirrji&tf mm of 
M/u/Ktrr ui/uct